Your favourite magazine is already dead

4 December 2009

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! This is how magazines of the future will look, at least according to the magazine publishers. Time, Inc are developing content for tablet PCs as derived from their printed publications. You could pick up a physical copy of a magazine, or you could download it and enjoy this:

There are plenty of digital bells and whistles for fans of eye candy, but is it the right way to go about the next generation of digital content? The whole process seems to be based on the premise of a printed product leading the development of a digital one; would the publishers be conceiving digital publications in this way if they didn't have the shackles of having to fill a preset number of physical pages every month?

Would you find any value in a review of a game from several days ago when you could have watched it online or received realtime updates and opinions from the web while it played out? Live scores are mentioned here, but where are the forums, Twitter feeds, live photos? Shouldn't a publication focused on sport be a portal for live events as they happen and be supported by feature material - not the other way around? The layout is based on a magazine, despite being read by a customer who prefers to consume information online. Even the act of "publishing" a product is becoming increasingly meaningless - web users are beginning to digest information in streams rather than packages.

Key figures in the media industry have spoken out recently against the charge that they don't understand the internet well enough to profit by it; this sort of development looks the business, but will it provide real value to the consumer?


  • merlin
    Check out the OSX style Aqua scroll bar at 2:18. Can't wait for iPad or iTablet or whatever the frak it'll be called.
  • Mark M.
    In principle, it is a great idea. However, it shouldn't be as traditionally magaize-looking as it appears there. I'm sure when it becomes a reality, there will be embedded video as well as links out to the web. Another great point is that you could build up a whole back catalogue that would become an invaluable resource. Just wait until Playboy bring their version out!
  • Paul S.
    A whole back catalogue? You mean... like the internet? ;) Hear what you're saying - I think my point is this was put together by the publishers and The Wonder Factory, and they've spent a lot of money doing it. The stuff you mention is common sense but there's no sign of it here. I genuinely don't see them thinking about this as a digital product - they still seem to think it's a magazine with digital bolted on the side of it.
  • Gunn
    Agree with the article, trying to just move an offline item online in a similar format is not going to cut it, people are already using so many different means to get their news and for free.
  • Mark M.
    Ooo... Paul you little tease I meant that if they do a digital subscription then you can download and keep all of the issues, as well you know ;) This would be really good if they got it right, but what they show looks like browsing the Makro mail or some similar flash papaer/pdf
  • cheapskate
    I like to read magazines on the bog.
  • Pixel B.
    [...] Unlike the last version we looked at, the designers seem to have paid more attention to the strengths of the digital medium and studied how users consume online content, instead of slavishly trying to reproduce a physical magazine complete with turning pages. [...]
  • More B.
    [...] to print, others will embrace it. We’ve shown examples in the past of what happened when Sports Illustrated attempted to pretty much cut and paste their magazine into a tablet, and then how a design agency [...]

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