• 1

    Opinion: Stack’s Steve Watson makes some print predictions for 2014

Opinion

Opinion: Stack's Steve Watson makes some print predictions for 2014

Posted by It's Nice That,

For the final Opinion piece of 2013 we asked Steve Watson of Stack Magazines – whose website has just been relaunched to mark its fifth anniversary – to give us some publishing predictions for the year ahead. As ever you can join the debate below…

I once heard somebody say that nobody remembers the predictions that don’t come true, but get it right and you’ll be considered a sooth-saying genius. So it’s in that spirit I’m going to stick my neck out and make my three predictions for independent publishing in 2014….

1. Print will die (again)

In the next 12 months, one of Britain’s quality newspapers will cease daily print production. The leak in October of Financial Times editor Lionel Barber’s memo to staff made it clear that he sees his organisation as digital-first, while 2012 saw The Guardian fall below the symbolic 200,000 average daily sales for the first time, and The Independent’s fifth redesign in as many years looked a lot like the desperate wave of a drowning title (to put The Guardian’s numbers into context, The Independent was down to under 70,000 copies a day in September).

As soon as any of those big media brands make even the slightest move away from print, the shrieking will begin. The fact is that print probably doesn’t make much sense for newspaper companies in the long run, but small independent publishers can do great things with ink on paper, and 2014 will see even more innovation as people continue making magazines that matter to them.

2. Business models will evolve

Kickstarter has become the de facto way to start a new magazine, providing would-be publishers with both seed money and a built-in subscriber list. Magazines like Intern have shown what’s possible when a clear editorial vision is combined with a solid Kickstarter campaign plan, but that’s just the beginning.

Paul Carr’s NSFW Corp pivoted its way to Pando Daily last month, the latest step in a publishing experiment that mixes old fashioned subscriptions with Silicon Valley VCs. Elsewhere, Offscreen editor and publisher Kai Brach publicly published his accounts, showing that cover sales plus sponsorship can make for a sustainable business.

For hundreds of years publishers have plumped their numbers and obfuscated, but this trend towards transparency will help to forge a new (and better) way of doing business.

3. Innovation will rule

When Apple unveiled Newsstand at the end of 2011, print publishers leapt at the opportunity to have their magazines reproduced, page for page, on every phone and iPad. Two years on and Apple’s apparent lack of interest in its own product and readers’ mass ambivalence have shown that the only recipe for success is a genuinely interesting editorial product.

Launches like FAT, Muff and Printed Pages took fresh approaches to print this year, and with Newsstand fading fast I’d love to think 2014 could see similar innovation in digital magazine making.

comments powered by Disqus
Nice

Posted by It's Nice That

The It’s Nice That byline is used on posts that relate to the site in general, specific announcements or pieces where there is no clear single author. Contact us using the email address below if you have questions, feedback or complaints.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Opinion-list-new

    This week It’s Nice That director Will Hudson talks about why he reckons the new Randall Wright-directed documentary Hockney is so brilliant. You can let us know your thoughts in the comment thread below.

  2. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what it is about weekly podcast Serial that has got the whole world talking. As ever, we want to hear what you think! Add your two pennies in the comment thread below.

  3. List

    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

  4. List

    Ahead of a panel discussion we’re hosting at London College of Communication next week we’re keen to explore whether the gap between design schools and the creative industries is a problem that needs addressing. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  5. List

    In a special Opinion piece, Rob Alderson explains why the closure of London’s Kemistry Gallery is a cause for concern, but why its ambitious future plans need to be encouraged. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  6. Lead

    This week online editor Emily Gosling looks at who can really claim authorship of artworks created using technology designed by someone else. Who can really take the credit for art that might not be possible without the tech know-how of others?

  7. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  8. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  9. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  10. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  11. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  12. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  13. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.