Ten years ago, my two best staff members stepped into my office and declared: “Paper is dead, long live the digital publication”. I stopped to think for a moment about radio which had been declared dead when television arrived and how that never really happened. Radio is definitely more alive than ever today because radio makers decided to go after more reach with a product offer adapted to different age groups and more specifically the young. And those very same ten years ago Tyler Brulé delivered another coup in the world of editing when he launched ‘Monocle’, a brand new printed magazine that hit the stands worldwide. It was an incredible success that didn’t slow down in the years that followed. Most definitely not.
At that time, I decided to make magazines better still... prettier layout... better editorial content. I didn’t avoid the digital route. I rather gave it the role it is best suited for: to complement the traditional printed message.
Today, my thinking has evolved as the result of a discovery that I have made. Digital has a magical ring to it but that’s all because it’s not really convenient to read. One tended to think that it was enough to put a PDF of a magazine online. I hope you can forgive me that I have done the very same thing in the past! But it is not easy to read, it tends to get boring rather rapidly and it’s far from reader friendly.
With the new technology that I have discovered I am considering reducing the number of printed copies of my magazine and compensate for this with a more appropriate distribution strategy. Also, I plan to increase the number of digital versions that I publish in order to appeal to a larger public within an association. More specifically the younger generations. This new technology is called: magazine.live.
The University of Leuven in Belgium, in partnership with a specialised digital media company, has carried out research to better understand digital reading behaviour. As part of the Digital Reader Engagement project, they have measured what happens in the body when people are reading a digital publication. Sixty readers of leading newspapers were equipped with advanced IMEC body sensors. Body temperature, skin conductance and blood pressure were tracked very accurately. Simultaneously eye movement was tracked with the MIT Pupil tracker and all user interaction data were stored.
Using the findings of this research a digital magazine was designed that by far surpasses the traditional digital PDF magazine. Headquarters will be the first association magazine to use this new digital reader technology. Off we go!
Marcel A.M. Vissers
HeadQuarters & MIM Europe magazine
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.