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´ The future of
Trends & Strategies in the
Linda van der Meer, 303302lm
1. Introduction 3
1.1 Research Question 3
2. Summary 4
3. Theory 5
3.1 The Internet; a new medium 5
3.2 The quality of Peer Production of Content 6
3.3 Readers´ consumption behavior 7
3.4 Conclusion 10
4. Methodology 11
4.1 Key facts 12
5. Financial proposal 13
6. Reflection 14
7. References 15
In the last few decades the media landscape has changed a lot. With the
introduction of the internet the consumer behavior has had a big transformation from
being a passive audience towards an active audience and even, with web 2.0, an
interactive audience. Their behavior has changed but so did the cultural industries in
the way they create and spread their products. My focus lies with the print media
industry and their development within this new media. You can read online news
articles and even online magazines, so called E-zines. In this process a lot of
questions rise. Is it a good development? Will the traditional printed magazine
disappear? What will happen to the format or the content of magazines?
This research proposal was set up for Sofie Spindler, the creative director of the
glossy magazine ´Cosmopolitan´. She wonders what will happen to the traditional
format when magazines go online and become E-zines. My main focus will be on the
new format and its consequences on two points:
- What will happen to the quality of the content in this new format
- What will happen to the readers´ consumption behavior with this new format
1.1 Research question:
The central question in this research proposal is:
What will happen to the quality of the content of the traditional printed magazine
when they change their format into an E-zine and how will the new format affect the
readers´ consumption behavior?
I will discuss the rise if the internet and web 2.0, the process of peer
production and how that affects the quality of the content and I will discuss the
behavior of the consumers with this new format. Furthermore, I will give an overview
of empirical research and the thereby coming costs.
The media world is changing and its happening fast. We all know the change the
internet brought us. Especially the creative industries notice the change in attention
from their consumers. The internet can be seen as a thread but also as an
opportunity. The creative industries also has to adjust their product to this new era
with new media. This is what the audience wants. But is that true? Is everyone happy
with the new media and the digital era?
In this proposal we will look at the print media and specifically magazines. Sofie
Spindler of the Cosmopolitan Magazine asked us to look at the change in format of
the magazine. What will happen to this format when they go publish E-zines. And
what about the content? Furthermore, we look at the change in readers´ behavior
when this new format rises. Discussions about the different types of participation and
the different type of audiences is followed bij a suggestion for empirical research.
What will happen to the quality of the content of magazines when the traditional
format changes. What will happen to the sales figures. How many more readers do
you gain by having an E-zine and how many will you lose. This proposal tries to find
the answer to those questions.
I will discuss the most important concepts of the research question starting with
the rise of the internet and web 2.0.
3.1 The Internet; a new medium:
It was in 1989 that Tim-Berners-Lee developed the concept of the ‘World Wide
Web’, an interconnectedness of all the computers in the world. The actual creation of
his concept happened in the early nineties when the World Wide Web ( better known
as WWW) became a fact. With more and more people using it, mostly for e-mail
contact, the internet already influenced other media forms. When we further talk
about the internet, we refer to the World Wide Web, specifically to Web 2.0 ( a term
by O’Reilly, 2004). Web 2.0 is a new way of internet-use, it implies a more
interactive, participative role for users. The Web changed from a static (Web 1.0) to a
dynamic content. Nobody actually owns the internet, it's growing and being changed
by its users every day, so the internet continues to develop. Slot and Frissen (2007)
define five user roles; to consume, create, share, facilitate and communicate. The
research of Slot and Frissen shows that the use of Web 2.0 has grown fast and it has
a lot of users. When the internet was first used, it was mostly to consume
information. Now people are combining this with ‘producer tasks’, they create, share,
facilitate and communicate content with other users. This whole process of
interactivity on the internet is called new media.
New media means digital, computerized, networked, interactive and
communication technologies of the twentieth century. Off course this is only one
explanation of the term new media. There are more than a hundred ways to define
this concept. Lister describes the concept in his book as following ‘From clocks to
telegraphs to radio and television, new media have always woven themselves into
everyday life, interfering with existing patterns of spatiotemporal organization,
generating new rhythms and spaces’ (Lister, 2003: 237). New media can be seen as
new ways to make a connection to the world. It is in this development that the
traditional cultural industries, such as the print industry, have to find their way. Their
business models need to change and they have to improve or change their product.
The consumer is becoming more and more active and a cultural product such as a
magazine needs to adjust to their wishes. But what will happen to the content when
the format changes?
Different newspapers and magazines going online, E-publishing as it is called,
keep the same content and way of writing. Others make their E-zine different and use
this new form of interactivity with the readers. Content on the internet is not only
created by certain producers, it is the user that creates the most content. Together
they create and share information. This is called Peer Production of content. There is
a lot of debate about Peer Production and the quality of the created content.
3.2 The quality of Peer Production of Content:
Peer Production is a model in which all people can invest by putting free products
on the market. Together they create a new business or institution with cultural
products. Y. Benkler devoted a chapter on this process in one of his books ´The
Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom´
(2006). He gives two terms referring to Peer Production; Free/Open-Source Software
and Peer Production of Information, Knowledge, and Culture Generally. The first one
refers to the products being open to everyone. An institution collects the products
and displays them in different ways so everyone can enjoy them. Those cultural
products are often for free. For example You tube, where you can watch all kind of
free videos. The second term Benkler mentions is about the type of products. There
can be institutions who focus entirely on spreading information and knowledge such
as Wikipedia. Everyone can put information on that internet site and together they
form a free online encyclopedia. Also the print media has its own form of peer
production. There are already a lot of online magazines published where everyone
can give their own input. The information is put on internet sites so everyone has an
easy access and can get it for free.
But what is the effect of this process on the content. If everyone can just
create content and there is no one to check the facts and the validity of content, what
will happen to the quality? Is the content still credible and valid? Will people still trust
the content on internet? An example of less quality is Kazaa or Limewire, two music
downloading programmes. A lot of songs are of bad quality, stop in the middle of the
song or are not the songs you where looking for etc. The products via Peer
Production just aren’t as good as the products you can buy in the stores. But what
about our chosen industry? Does the print media face the same problems? I think E-
zines also have issues with credibility. If there are blogs where people can react and
create content there is no one to check the validity. According to Johnson and Kaye
(2004: 622-642) the credibility of blogs is not to be trusted. In their article they
discuss a survey they did under bloggers. They wondered how credible bloggers
themselves view other blogs in comparison to the traditional media. In blogs and user
created content are a lot of opinion based texts and that makes it hard to view the
content on credibility. This is the same for the print media. When online, who is there
to control the opinions in content created by users. So overall, the peer produced
content is less credible and valid then the content of traditional media. The quality
drops because there is no one to check the content. Everyone can put any
information online with just theories and opinions. This makes E-publishing hard to
judge on quality. In the new format of an online magazine there should be control
over the created content otherwise the quality will go down.
3.3 Readers´ consumption behavior:
Now that we have an idea about the quality when changing the format of a
magazine we will have a look at the consumers of magazines. Is everybody happy
with this new format or are there also people who like the traditional printed version?
There are different factors when looking at this question. Off course, age is an issue.
Not everyone, especially older people, has an computer of their own. Not everyone
like sitting behind their desk and reading articles off screen. There are probably a lot
of people who will change their consuming behavior when magazines turn into E-
zines. On the other hand, E-zines are easy accessible and they are free. This will
lead to more readers. The magazine will gain a greater reach. Before discussing the
change in the readers´ consumption behavior we have to look at the different
concepts and variables that play a part in this question.
With new technology as internet and E-publishing ( E-zines but also Ebooks)
people have more options to read a magazine. Will this progress have a big influence
on their behavior and especially their consumption pattern? Where is it that we notice
the biggest change and are there also downsides to this process? These are the kind
of questions one looks at when discussing a new development in the creative
industries like E-publishing and E-zines. With the rise of E-zines audiences can go
online and read the magazine on screen. It seems a lot easier than going to a store
to buy a copy or to get a subscription. But does E-publishing have that big an
influence on the readers´ behaviour? What is the influence of this new development
on the audience?
As discussed before, you have different forms of participation, passive, active
and interactive. According to C. Walker (2003) there are four ways of participation in
the creative world. At first, people attend programs and events; they watch a movie
or read a book or something else in the creative industries. Secondly, people can
encourage others to participate. This is an indirect way of participation. Being an
artist or a producer who creates a cultural product is the third way to take part in this
industry. People can also support the industry by donating money or time. This is the
fourth, indirect, way of participation.In his article Walker (2003) argues that people
also have different motivations, venues and backgrounds to take part of something.
With the background, Walker means for example the income, age, gender,
education, religion and other personal and household characteristics. These are all
different factors that can influence the way people participate.
Kraaykamp & van Eijk (2003) also say in their article ´Personality, media
preferences and cultural participation´ that there are different reasons for cultural
participation. The participation gets influenced by the different personalities and the
kinds of cultural and media preferences people have. According to Kraaykamp & van
Eijk (2003) it is also important to look at how easy the access is to the cultural
product and what kind of people are more attracted to this easy way of offering.
In Galloway's and Dunlop's article: 'destructing the concept of creative industries'
they argue, just like Kraaykamp & van Eijk (2003), that “cultural participation and
expression represents a significant democratic deficit for both individuals and society
as a whole”. The possibility of expressing things in the creative industries is,
according to them, a human right. All these reasons together determine the behavior
of consumers. As discussed the preferences of the consumers also have a influence
on the behavior. Everyone has different preferences and different ways of using a
cultural product such as magazines.
You have different types of readers. Not everyone would want to read a magazine
of the screen. Most likely the audience that already is familiar with the internet will
read E-zines. As we will see later on in this proposal it are mostly the young ones
that are interested in this new form of reading. The rise of E-publishing could have
different kind of consequences. If people like to read online the consumption pattern
will change. More and more people will read online. The experience of buying a
traditional printed magazine will get less important. So E-zines also have an influence
on the sales-volumes of magazines. Or are there still people who feel a ´real´
magazine is worth buying? Who is exactly the target audience for E-zines? The
target audience is discussed in an article about Ebooks, another comparable form of
E-publishing. In ´eBook boosters eye next generation of readers as prime market for
new format´ from the Book publishing report, they state that children are the future
and that it is the children´s market they aim for while introducing the concept of
eBooks. This could also apply to E-zines. Though this is a development for the future
because now it are mostly young adults who read magazines. But when introducing
the concept of E-zines with children they will still read online when they grow older.
Young adults on the other hand will easily adjust to E-reading because they already
are familiar with the use of internet. It are the older aged people who will find it hard
to adept to this new development.
The fact that the internet can ´store´ almost every magazine online has also a big
influence on the consumers´ behaviour. A magazine shop can only sell so many
different magazines and almost never sells previous editions. There are so many
different releases these days that it is hard to keep up. They simply have not got
enough stock room to be able to sell every magazine there is. The internet does not
face these problems. People will therefore go online to find what they are looking for
instead of going to a store. Like I mentioned before the fact that these E-zines are for
free also influence the behaviour. This means that E-publishing and E-zines have a
certain influence on the readers´ consumption behaviour.
After looking at the theory we can draw different conclusions. We have seen that
the rise of the internet has brought a new form of participation. People are more
interactive on the internet. They create, share and judge content on a whole new
level. Peer production of content is a new concept and it has its positive as well as its
negative points. We see that the validity and the credibility of content goes down
when everyone can create content and there is no one to control this process.
Therefore the quality of online created content goes down. When the format of the
traditional magazine changes into a E-zine the content will change too. The readers
can become a part of the content and they can share their thoughts and opinions.
The quality of the content will go down in this new format.
We also saw that there are different types of readers with different types of
wishes and interests. Key factors are gender, age, income etc. All these factors
together determine the readers´ consumption behavior. With the come on internet
and E-zines the participation changes too. Because E-zines are for free and easy
accessible more readers will go online for the E-zine. On the other hand, because of
the quality and because of age differences there will also be readers who want to
keep the traditional printed format of the magazine.
It is difficult to state how many more readers the magazine will gain by going
online. If you want to see what will happen to the consumers behavior you have to
research this. I made a proposal for such a research.
The best way to research how the participation, or behavior, of the consumer will
change is to ask the consumer himself. With a survey we can measure what type of
readers read magazines, what type follow the E-zine when it goes online etc. The
main research question will be:
What are the differences in key characteristics of readers of the E-zine and
readers of the traditional printed magazine?
When we know this characteristics we have a profile of the readers who will follow
the online magazine. A magazine company can than look at how many readers they
will lose by going online and what type of readers they will gain by changing the
format into an E-zine. Off course, the results depend also on the type of magazine
you want to research. In our case, we will look at consumers of the glossy
`Cosmopolitan´. We want to research what will happen to the readers ´consumption
behavior when Cosmopolitan changes the format of the printed magazine.
The survey will be published in the magazine itself so we get a profile of the
consumers who already read the magazine. Furthermore, the survey will be spread
in different stores that sell magazines. This way we also reach the audience that
never or sometimes read a magazine. Perhaps they are very interested in an E-zine.
In the survey are different key characteristics such as gender, age, level of
education, level of income. We also need to know what type of person has an
subscription and whether they have an easy internet access at home. These are all
factors of influence on the behavior of the reader. The survey will be spread and the
duration will be a month. This way we reach as much people as possible.
Out of the gathered information, data will be processed into a statistical file, to
define the different types of readers. Interpreting the statistical figures, similarities
and differences between the readers can be determined. This way we get a good
profile of the different groups there are in readers´ consumption behaviour.
Cosmopolitan can then better decide if they want to change the format into an E-zine
and also what their target group should be or what kind of promotion they should
apply on the different types of readers.
4.1 Key Facts:
Method: A survey
Target group: Readers of Cosmopolitan and audiences of book/magazine stores.
Duration: The survey will be held during a month
Variables: Gender, age, level of education, level of income, subscription, internet
access, preferences etc.
Results: Will be published online and in the magazine
Mission: To get a clear profile of the type of readers of the traditional magazine and
the type of readers of an E-zine
5. Financial proposal:
This financial proposal is based on the empirical research discussed in the
proposal. There are certain costs attached to the research. I made a calculation of
the time needed to do the research and the different durations for type of
researchers. The figure below shows the number of days each researcher needs to
do the work:
Junior Medior Senior
Researcher Researcher Researcher
Number of days
Conducting survey 3 2 2
Spreading survey 3 3 3
Collecting results 2 2 2
Statistically file results 7 5 6
Write proposal 2 1 2
Every Researcher has its own tariff. The costs will be calculated by the hour. One
day consists out of 8 hours. The different type of researcher and their hour tariff:
o Junior researcher €20,- 17 days 136 hours
o Medior Researcher €35,- 13 days 104 hours
o Senior Researcher €30,- 15 days 120 hours
The total costs per researcher are:
o Junior Researcher €2720,-
o Medior Researcher €3640,-
o Senior Researcher €3600,-
I think I had a very interesting topic to write my proposal about. This made it a lot
easier to think about research and other questions. I think the way my proposal looks
is good. The table in my financial proposal gives it something extra. I also feel like I
found good sources to subscribe my arguments with. Perhaps I could have found
some more sources about the quality of content but these were hard to find. Overall, I
think I made my point very clear.
The methodology part is short but it sums up all the aspects and parts of
research. A described the variables and the way the survey was spread. The key
factors at the end make it extra clear. Together with the financial proposal it is a good
proposal. On the other hand, I found it hard to apply methods to the quality of
content. I therefore focused mainly on the readers´ behavior at the end.
I hope Sofie Spindler enjoys reading my proposal because I liked writing it. The
topic is broad and I feel I can write a whole lot more about the future of Magazines!
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- Ebook boosters eye next generation of readers as prime market for new
format. Book publishing report. 2000. (25) 44:1-2
- Kraaykamp, G. & Eijk, van K. 2003. Personality, media preferences and
cultural participation. In: Elsevier: Personality and Individual Differences (38)
- Walker, C. 2003. Washington Building arts participation; new findings from the
field. The Urban Institute
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industries'. Cultural industries. In: The British Experience in International
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research? A comparison of newspaper stories and peer-reviewed research
papers. In: CMAJ (170) 9:1400-1407
Bezocht op 14-01-2010