Time Discovers That Customizing Print Magazines Is Hard

from the not-so-easy dept

Last month, Time Magazine made some news with its plan to experiment with custom print magazines called "Mine," where subscribers could pick and choose from a collection of magazines to create their own semi-custom magazine. Think of it as an extremely limited RSS aggregator on paper. Sorta. Except... apparently Time is still working out the glitches. The first editions were sent out this week, which is when people noticed that what they got often had nothing to do with what they asked for. In other words, "Mine" became "Yours" or "Some Guy's." Perhaps it's best to stick with the RSS aggregator.
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Filed Under: customization, magazines
Companies: time

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  1. identicon
    Jerry Leichter, 18 Apr 2009 @ 5:31am

    Everything has bugs

    Targeted print media have been around for many years - it's just that the targeting has been done entirely by the publishers. I don't know how many versions of Time have been out there, but it's quite a few, selected by general demographics to keep advertisers happy. However, the actual articles have varied as well.

    I think this is a rather clever thing for Time to try. OK, they had glitches during rollout - so what else is new? I see no reason why this kind of thing can't work. Advertisers crossed over to printing out unique mailings for each recipient years ago. Sure, that's more expensive than sending out copies of the same supermarket ads - but the technology is there, even for very large campaigns with complex, multi-page, full-color material. As soon as you've cross the line to generating the page content direct from the digital description - rather than first producing, say, an offset plate and then generating page copies from that - it's "just" a matter of how fast you can generate new digital content. And machines have gotten very, very fast at that.

    Whether this actually helps Time in the market is an entirely separate question. It really comes down to where people find value in Time. Obviously, they traditional *have* found value - they've bought subscriptions. Whether the combination of a traditional very good delivery medium - easy to carry, doesn't need charging, costs very little to replace if you lose it - with digital-age choice of content is something people want enough to pay for ... well, we'll just have to see.

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