PIA Course to Teach Print Design to Designers

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One of the most important relationships a magazine publisher has is the one with their printer. Without a printer, there is no print magazine; while there are many online-only publications, the money in the industry still remains with the print titles. However, the relationship between a printer and a publisher usually revolves around two things only: cost and quality.

A focus on cost is obvious, as publishers are looking to balance budgets more and more as the industry tightens. Quality, on the other hand, is an interesting variable. Of course, the quality of the printing should be a huge consideration, but the quality of what is provided to the printer should be just as vital.

Most professional designers today put their focus on digital, which is great for other industries, but quite problematic for print publishers. Designing for print requires an innate understanding of colors, bleeds and styles that do not apply in other design disciplines. A lack of those understandings can cause print jobs to be held up in production quite easily, or can result in poor quality submissions to the printer. A printer can do a lot to help a publisher resolve the problem, but there is only one true solution: better trained designers.

The Printing Industries of America (PIA), the world’s largest graphic arts trade association and an organization with expert knowledge of the print industry, is seeking to help resolve the lack of training. They have released an iLearning course titled “Print Production for Designers” meant to help bridge the gap of understanding many designers have with print knowledge. The goal of the course is two-fold:

  1. Broaden the horizons of designers.
  2. Help publishers have access to higher-quality designers who can help them produce better quality magazines.

Printers can also make use of the course, and should take it upon themselves to help educate their clients. Printers are responsible for their role in quality, but it is also their responsibility to hold their clientele accountable for providing proper files; otherwise, a printer cannot do their job correctly. The PIA course provides printers the means to foster this new level of relationship with publishers as well, and in the end, it can help printers save time and publishers money.

Further Information

To learn more about the iLearning Course “Print Production for Designers,” click here. For more information about the Printing Industries of America in general, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Meredith and NY Times Collaborate to Create a Special Section

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In a world where high-margin opportunities are less common for publishers, special sections remain a great money-maker. That may explain why Meredith Corporation and the New York Times are making use of one-time titles once again to maximize their reach and profits.

Special sections, also referred to as a special edition or special interest magazines, are one-off magazines meant to capture the hype or exposure on a focused topic. Many times, special sections fall into the “bookazine” category, being significantly longer editions and hyper-focused. This said, with the pursuit of new revenue options, some publications are doing smaller but more frequent special sections, as they tend to have much higher profit margins with the same print run size and audience.

The Meredith/Times special section recently released was a “Summer of 69” issue with a unique spin to the special section concept: multi-publication collaboration. This special section, the first New York Times standalone magazine ever, was built with the help of Meredith Corp., one of the nation’s largest magazine producers, to coordinate with the standard coverage within the New York Times newspaper that was covering the 50th anniversary of the event.

While there have been numerous publications to coordinate content between their parent title and their special sections, completely independent publications working together is not a common practice. This action shows a potential opportunity for publishers to not only expand their profit options, but to help keep each other standing strong in an economy that has not been kind to publishers in general.

Further Information

To learn more about Meredith Corporation’s and the New York Times’ special edition magazines, click here. For more information publishers and special editions in general, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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E-Learning Proves Profitable for Publishers

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Print publishers are always looking for new profit opportunities, especially in today’s digital age. E-Learning is a digital avenue that can tie into any publisher’s magazine and compliment print. The e-learning industry is already a $165 billion industry (as of 2015), but estimates are showing it being as large as $275 billion by 2022, and part of that epic growth is likely to come from publishers.

Magazines, particularly niche titles, have very specific topics that they showcase an expertise in. After all, that topic is the crux of the content the publisher produces, and why readers are drawn to that title. It makes complete sense that if they enjoy topical learning, readers would likely also have an interest in deeper learning, which is where e-learning has its potential for publishers.

Think of it as advanced content for the reader. Take a yoga title for example. They cover a large amount of content, but what if a reader is new to yoga, and wants help learning the basics. Why should they go elsewhere to access actual training or exercises when the magazine can work with a pro, record a bunch of tutorial videos, and make them an upsell option? That title could even produce new content consistently and have multiple subscription tiers.

E-learning can be leveraged for any topic, or a spectrum of them. The one thing to note is that, like any other potential revenue stream, there is both a time and monetary investment needed to make e-learning a viable part of a publisher’s business. It needs to be thought out, investigation on the topic and competition in that e-learning realm need to take place, and most of all, the publisher needs to know if they have the bandwidth to create the content consistently.

Further Information

For examples and further detail on how publishers are leveraging e-learning, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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It’s a niche magazine market

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Large, national titles continue to struggle

The question of “is print dead” is still circulating around the magazine industry. However, it is the larger, more general-topic titles that are finding themselves truly pinched and struggling. Smaller, more specific titles, commonly called “niche,” are actually growing and expanding. Dedicated, specific audiences are the driving force behind this. They aren’t just consumers of content, but advocates that actively promote and support these titles. Titles that cover a wider demographic and geographic spread do not have that same buy-in from their audiences.

Titles that rely on their longstanding brands are having difficulty retaining audiences against the targeted content of niche publications. In fact, new niche titles are being created to fill the gaps being left by the larger titles. The other major component as to why larger titles are having issues: profits. The brand loyalty issue results in fewer subscriptions, which when combined with paper cost increases and shipping difficulty, all lead to struggles balancing profits and overhead.

Niche titles can skate some of these issues due to the audience buy-in, which helps bring in subscription and ad dollars. Also, smaller circulations means less print and fulfillment cost. Being niche doesn’t resolve the issues, but it helps in today’s market. Difficulty for all titles will likely continue unless industry-wide changes occur. In the meantime, niche publications will continue to expand their reach.

The Playboy Magazine Example

Playboy magazine is an example of this. Still one of the most recognizable titles in the US, it’s once 5.6 million circulation has now dwindled to below 500,000, and what was once a monthly will be a quarterly in 2019. Much of the change happening at Playboy can be attributed to a decrease in brand loyalty over the last 10 years.

The Chief Creative Officer of Playboy, Cooper Hefner, has even expressed that he plans to put more focus into online content, in an effort to “shift away from putting a lot of effort into the magazine” because of a lack of profits from the print publication.

Further Information

For more information regarding the success of niche publications, click here. To learn more about the changes to Playboy magazine, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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