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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - February 2015

Why Print Rarely Translates to Digital

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with a number of very big magazine publishers over the past six months, across several countries. None of them had exactly the same problems. The difference in markets and focus means you have to take wildly different paths to make a difference.

However, I did notice one problem across the board, which is the difference between print and digital. What works in print very rarely translate to digital, for a number of reasons.

A simple example: The other day, I was talking with a friend who loves gardening. And she told me that she absolutely loves reading a specific garden magazine (in print), but she never visits it online. Even though she can read exactly the same articles on their website, she doesn't feel they are worth reading. Instead, when it comes to digital, she focuses her attention on geeky gardening blogs, Pinterest boards, and Facebook groups.

This exact type of behavior is something I have seen so many times when I have worked with different magazine publishers. They all have very strong print magazines, with a huge (for print) audience who seem to love them. But online, their loyalty is almost non-existent, and their traffic behaves in a way that mimics random idleness.

Why is this?

The largest difference of all is one of behavior. The way people consume a print magazine is based on entirely different needs and desires than the way people consume something online. And this is especially noticeable with a monthly print magazine.

Think about how you read a magazine like that.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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