Video of the Week: Magazines, The Power of Print

I am a print magazine person.  I love getting lost in a well-written story, and though I now read as many blogs and news sites as print publications, I strongly defend print to those who tell me that the format is in its death throes.

Naturally, the magazine industry wants to fight the notion that it is a dinosaur fighting extinction in a new media age. So a group of powerful publishers came together on a multi-million dollar campaign to promote “The Power of Print,” kicking off with a video on YouTube. Hmmm.

My heart is with the cause, and the video offers a number of valid arguments for print – readership has grown in the past five years, people spend time with a magazine, the 18-34 group reads more magazines than those 35 and older.  But where was an editor to make the story sing? The defenders of print buried the lead. Those surprising numbers are tacked on at the end of the video, after a series of talking heads lecture the viewer about why their products are still relevant.

I’m sure that the idea of using some of the magazine world’s most powerful CEOs seemed like a great way to show the strength of the commitment behind the campaign. But outside of the industry, how many people know Jann Wenner, Cathie Black, Anne Moore, Charles Townsend and Jack Griffin?

Decades ago, Wenner’s Rolling Stone ran a game-changing print campaign promoting the magazine. “Perception vs. Reality” used vivid graphics and very few well-chosen words to let advertisers know that the publication’s readers were business people with bank account, not hippies scrounging for spare change. That was the power of print.

That kind of power still exists. Maybe video is the wrong way to show it. I have high hopes for the print campaign.