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September 15, 2011 / Steve Cummins

Digital Media – the Death of Engineering Journals in Print?

BMA-NJ’s recent event “Hybrid Marketing – Digital, Social and Print Media” gave a fresh perspective on the shift from print to digital journals.

Joe Pramberger, President of Tech Briefs Media Group, shared his views on how digital media has brought new opportunities to the world of trade journals, and specifically to NASA Tech Briefs

As a publisher himself, Joe has encountered many of the challenges associated with new digital media, including the need for multiple workflows, decisions on App vs. web-based formats, and the means of delivery. He noted that using email to deliver a digital journal might result in an open rate of 15-20%; by using a series of three messages this can be raised to 40-50% particularly if teasing a reader that they are “missing out” on a specific article.

In recent studies by the Tech Briefs Media Group, they have found that readers profess to read 70% of digital magazines, which compares well with 2 out of 3 of print publications they receive. The pass-along rate is actually better, at 2.1 for print and 2.5 for digital.

To increase the impact for Marketers Joe highlighted the use of embedded video, which can double the time spent on a page. He also noted that 66% of readers enter keywords from an article into a search engine for more information so urged awareness of using the right wording in an ad or article.

The biggest changes for digital magazines are now being driven by the ubiquitous tablet. Tech Briefs data shows that 4.5% of their readership owned a tablet/e-reader in 2010, and this grew to 21% in 2011, with an additional 36% planning to buy.

Joe’s optimism shone through with his quote that e-readers are “not the death of print, but an increase in reading”, backed by data that device users read 12/5hrs/wk vs 8hrs from non-users.

Finally, Joe shared his view that the future will bring more immersive editorials and ads, the increase of micro-magazines, and widespread use of reader-editing and community engagement.

How do you think digital media will impact Engineering journals such as Electronic Products and NASA Tech Briefs?

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