I’ve long been a reader of CAR Magazine and have read, subscribed to, a New Zealand car magazine Driver from it’s first issue. I still regard CAR as the best “World Title”, Driver the “Best local”. It’s strange that both have dabbled with the web in the past but have not really had much presence, certainly no match for their print editions. Recently, almost simultaneously, both have re-launched heavily revamped websites. It’s like they suddenly realised that the web was not going away!
The Driver website is part of a company site, they publish several titles, and it’s approach is to bring more readers to the print edition by posting news and limited content from the latest issue. CAR have a more aggressive approach with content related to the magazine but also plenty of web only material. They also offer a RSS feed making it very easy to incorporate CAR Online into my daily reading.
I have linked to some CAR articles recently and was approached about it. It wasn’t, thankfully, the lawyers asking me to remove the links but rather some research into the relationship between blogs, commercial websites & print magazines. I don’t know where that will lead but it’s something I was already thinking about thanks to a recent “clean out the garage” exercise.
I’ve been going thru stacks of old car magazines with a Stanley knife slashing out articles to keep in my “archive”. I don’t have space to keep everything but there are articles, maybe related to cars I’ve owned/would like to own, I’ve loved reading & want to keep for review. Hidden in those stacks of aging paper is brilliant writing (see the posts on LJK Setright & Phil Llewellin for a few CAR samples), photography and articles about places I’d like to visit, drives I’d like to do. Maybe that’s a clue for these magazines…
Their print editions cannot compete with the Internet for news. Every car, scoop, launch will be covered by the net based services long before the ink hits the paper. I’m not saying drop that content from the mag but don’t expect it to be the reason I’ll buy the mag. They could try competing via their websites but I suspect dedicated autoweb sites will do “web news” better. After all the mags should be concentrating most resource on the core business, a great car magazine.
I read the Internet for information, but regard the print editions as recreation. They are something to savour when off-line versus the quickest way to get the latest information. They are generating content that the websites don’t get time, or have the resources, to compile and that’s why I read them. Their opinions, drive stories, comparisons and local knowledge is what makes these mag’s worthwhile for me.
There is one thing the web news sites can’t match and that’s the magazine archive. Locked up in the paper history is a valuable resource but its not economic to reprint. Driver have spun-off a sister magazine, NZ Today, almost solely dedicated to their expeditions. Again it’s full of fascinating reading but within a few months it disappears from sale, forever.
It would be a mission to get it loaded, maybe rights/royalties would be a nightmare, but I wonder how much traffic someone like CAR, or Driver, could generate by simply serving up the back catalogue, maybe 3–6 months behind the print edition, in a web format with a decent search engine. Unless they have stacks of unsold back issues to offload there would be little impact on print sales. I think there would be enough traffic for some revenue and it makes a great resource for them to refer readers back to related stories from previous issues. You’ve got that history; why not exploit it!
Just a thought…
Driver New Zealand – http://www.drivermagazine.co.nz/
CAR Magazine (U.K.) – http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/