Australia Post invests in more subscriptions

I attended a breakfast this morning hosted by Australia Post. They have brought out Alan Weaver from the United Kingdom to talk to magazine publishers about selling more subscriptions, more effectively and, of course, retaining current subscribers.

Australia Post also launched its new quarterly magazine, Subscribe, at the breakfast. Subscribe aims to help the publishing industry “understand the key factors in subscription profitability, including renewals, maximising subscriber value, and online subscription marketing. We will also take a look a close look at modelling and analytical techniques,” says editor Gary M Lane in his Welcome Letter in the first issue. At the breakfast, Weaver presented on subscription excellence to a packed house of magazine subscriptions specialists at Jones Bay Wharf. He then sat on a panel with Alan Sarkissian, executive director, Publishers Australia; Bruna Rodwell, subscriptions consultant and Gary M Lane, editor, Subscribe magazine.

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Emirates dumps paper for digital content

Open Skies magazine, grounded.

Open Skies magazine, grounded.

There’s been a lot of talk about Emirates Airlines canning their inflight magazine, Open Skies, together with other entertainment publications and shopping catalogues as part of a plan to do away with a tonne of paper in the seat pockets of the new A380 “Superjumbos”, thereby reducing haulage weight and fuel usage.

The demise of a publication, particularly one that might signal a trend in a category, is a disturbing one (full disclosure, I’m a board director of Publishers Australia, this country’s industry body for print and digital specialist and B2B media), so I wanted to take a closer look at what was happening. What people haven’t identified is that Emirates is moving a lot of the magazine content onto their inflight entertainment systems as digitised content.  There is no reason why the entire Open Skies publication, all 200 pages of it, couldn’t be designed for access on the iCE inflight system using digital magazine technologies such as Realview Technologies or a number or other similar systems now available worldwide, complete with rich media content including video and audio.

The digitised edition of Virgin's Voyeur magazine

The digitised edition of Virgin's Voyeur magazine

Digital magazines like Virgin Blues’ Voyeur or SportingNewsToday are able to present information in a straightforward, familiar way, easily navigated and consumed by a broad demographic of readers (and this is a key point for product such as inflight entertainment). The touch screen technology of iCE makes digital magazine technology all the more attractive and user-friendly.

Emirates' iCE touch screen inflight entertainment system

Emirates' iCE touch screen inflight entertainment system

Magazines no longer need to be restricted to print; they can be designed and digitised for reading on most new media platforms – web, inflight, mobile, kiosk etc. The question publishers (and marketers) need to ask is, what media format will best suit my customers: a magazine may not be the answer, but often it still is.