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March 26, 2008

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Serafima Bogomolova

Hi Josh,

I agree with everything you have said. I spotted the trend back in 2006 when I launched digital only lifestyle interactive magazine Avantoure http://www.zinio.com/express3?issue=280069389 (express view), site www.avantoure.com

I have decided to go digital only because I believed that this is something new, exciting, and I can create a new content, a new magazine on an innovative digital platform. I did not want to do a duplicate of a print magazine because I think it has no future. It has been extremely hard to promote my publication as I am an independent digital publisher. I have spent months and months explaining to potential partners and advertisers all the benefits of digital only. In 2006 and 2007 they remained vaguely interested and did not recognize the potential…

I am very happy that 2008 is a turning point for all innovative digital publishers and I hope advertisers will also understand soon how cool, modern, innovative, effective, and useful digital only magazines and publications are!

Thank you very much for your supportive views on digital.


Josh Gordon

Thank you Tom.

Your pioneering efforts should be an inspiration to everyone in the magazine publishing business. I regretfully agree with you that traditional magazine publishers will find it harder to succeed at digital magazines than digital starts ups.

This goes back to Theodore Levitt's classic "Marketing Myopia" piece where he shares how the deeper marketing mission of any organization needs to be rooted in market need not company function. As example, the all powerful US railways of the late 1800's failed because they thought hey were in the railroad business, when in fact, they were in the transportation business.

We are not in the magazine business. We are in the periodic content business. Digital magazines are an inevitable stop along the way of our inevitable evolution.

I posted this before but in closing … In the late 80s while managing the sales and marketing staff of CableVision magazine I saw magazine myopia at its worst. As I watched, first hand, the rapid growth of many new cable networks I wondered how the opportunities they represented had slipped by my publishing peers:

Why didn't someone at Sports Illustrated start ESPN?
Why didn't someone at Time or Newsweek start CNN?
Why didn't someone at Rolling Stone start MTV?
Why didn't someone at National Geographic start the Discovery Channel?

The list could go on...but I fear history is repeating itself, this time with digital magazines.

Tom Martin

Thanks for noticing.

In the process of developing Winding Road, we've learned a lot about the huge difference between a true digital magazine and a digitized print magazine. Format, platform, ad model, layout, story assignments, timing, photography, cost structure -- I could go on and on, but practically everything is different. I would predict that it will be much easier for web publishers to do digital magazines than for print publishers to do them (successfully, that is).

For readers interested in the subject, we also have a digital magazine covering music, movies and consumer electronics called Playback (www.playbackmag.net).

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