Sunday, January 3, 2016

Print ... yet again still not dead

A few years ago I speculated on what it might mean that was getting a good share of its revenue from its local print edition in DC -- evidently it was the print revenue that was keeping the magazine afloat.  Politico is still around, including the print edition.  I don't know whether the print edition is still critical to the operation, but it says something that it's still around years later.

There's an even more blatant example, though, one that I don't recall noticing earlier even though it's been around since 2005: WebMD has a print edition.  I've seen it in a couple of doctor's offices in the past few months.  I'm sure I've seen it many times before and just not registered it.

It makes perfect sense, of course.  Patients waiting in doctor's offices are the classic captive audience.  Even today, when people are likely to have smartphones and/or tablets to read from -- or could just bring a book like in the olden days -- it's clearly still worth it to have a pile of paper around to browse through.  A medical magazine aimed at the general reader makes perfect sense.  If you're into sports or celebrity gossip you've probably already read the stories in those months-old magazines, but chances are you haven't browsed through WebMD, no matter how old it is.  Being in a doctor's office, you might well be in the mood to.

As with Politico, it's particularly interesting that a primarily web-based outlet -- you can't get much webbier than WebMD -- is choosing to publish a print edition, and sticking with that decision for years at a time.

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