KeepMedia Review 1: The Magazine Industry’s Self Cannibalization Worries


Now that KeepMedia has launched, I have been testing it through a seven-day trial period: it is a decent service…not great, but a start, nonetheless. One of the biggest negatives for the service is that the current issues of magazines are not on the service [if you subscribe to the print magazine through KeepMedia, you get that magazine’s current issue online]…this is the magazine industry equivalent of the restrictions on legitimate online music services. That alone could derail the service in the short to medium term. What that automatically does is create an impression of an archives/research tool, rather than a lively media service where people could read magazines online…news, features, interest areas etc…

The magazine industry will have to take initiatives, much like the music industry is slowly waking up…self-cannibalization is not a choice the industry can turn away from. Larry Kenswil, the president of eLabs division of Universal Music Group made a point on Tuesday in his keynote at the Jupiter Plug.In music conference which stuck with me: “Can we afford to worry about CDs cannibalizing legitimate music services when file sharing services abound? In reality, we have to cannibalize ourselves.”

There are parallels for that in the magazine industry as well…it is not the illegal sharing magazine industry has to worry about, but a rather more deadly prospect: irrelevance.

As for another related industry, newspapers, the problem may be past a solution, according to Vin Crosbie. He has written about it in some detail in the past, and it is interesting to read his thoughts (scroll down through the comments) on Adrian Holovaty’s site…

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