Print Is The New WebZine

    December 30, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

If Google can take its online model back to print, where media advertising started, there’s no reason online publishers can’t take their works and make them available in print too.

Cost savings from staying online? What a dated concept, a BusinessWeek report said. There are big advertising dollars to be had in print advertising, so why not go get some?

The article noted how and a few other sites have started to expand their reach in order to grab offline readers. WebMD’s magazine can be found in doctor office waiting rooms. AlwaysOn has a quarterly print version of the tech site going to techies and related firms and organizations.

BabyCenter has been making the most of its efforts. With more ad inventory than places to display it, going the print route gives its advertisers more impact, thanks to the branding BabyCenter has developed. The site has even begun to target its readers with different versions of the print magazine, depending on whether Mom is still expecting or now dealing with diaper rash.

The magazine versions of sites that have done well do something that isn’t done online. In the article, it was noted that WebMD’s print edition offers a checklist of questions readers can tear out and take along to an appointment. Given the stressful nature many people are in when going to the doctor, a checklist can help them remember to ask all the questions they need to ask about particular symptoms, for example.

Advertisers are buying in, even at the much higher rates print ads command. AlwaysOn has HP, Audi, and palmOne paying $50 CPM. BabyCenter has made fans out of baby food maker Beech-Nut, which increased its offline spending for the magazine.

Print magazines can be a very tough business. Many failures take place for each success; only recently did Razor Magazine fold before publishing its fourth issue. For sites that have a productive track record and greater ad inventory demand than it can place online, print could be the option for them.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.