Inside Tri – what are you doing?!

Let me preface my comments with the fact that I have absolutely zero experience in the magazine publishing business. However, I’m an avid triathlete and a believer that the web is changing the way how everybody does business. I believe it is pretty reasonable to assume that the print business in general as we have known it is going the way of the newspaper.
So, imagine my reaction when I recently got the latest issue of Inside Triathlon with a special notice on the cover indicating they were changing their format. The message essentially said they are no longer going to be a monthly publication but instead a bi-monthly publication that goes into more detail on each story.

What struck me about the message is they actually use the phrase “Look forward to the anti-Web site print magazine”?! While I can see the value of providing more in depth stories for readers who desire it, is Inside Tri living under a rock? Do they see some movement away from the Internet that I’m missing along with the rest of the world?
There are plenty of other magazine subscribers like me who are letting their subscriptions run out because more timely and accessible content is available. This leads to a more unattractive value proposition for advertisers for several reasons:
  • Lower subscriptions = lower impressions
  • Inferior tracking – advertisers are waking up to the fact that the web allows them to better track their spending and ROI. Can we really know how much business was generated from that full page color ad? Usually not. Can we find out how many prospects clicked on a well placed web ad and how many of those clicks turned into revenue? Definitely. Companies like Hubspot are making this easier for businesses to effectively track their spending
  • Print ads are one way – How I view an ad is the advertiser interupting what I’m doing and telling me about what they want to sell me. But, I can’t talk back and tell them that I’m not interested. So, what happens? Now I’m conditioned to ignore all advertisements because I’m sick of being interupted and not having the opportunity to talk back. What the web allows business to do is to have a two way conversation. Whether it is in the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc, etc, etc. there are an ever growing number of tools available for businesses to have a two-way conversation with their prospects and customers.

I sincerely hope that I’m wrong about Inside Tri. Maybe there is some grand plan to incorporate their website with this new format. Maybe my extreme lack of magazine publishing experience will make this blog post pointless. Time will tell…

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