The Boston Phoenix had a story last week about the future of magazine publishing. It’s not as bad as newspapers, said the story.
“One operator gambling on online video is the Ehlert Publishing Group, a company that owns more than a dozen publications, most focused on “enthusiast” subjects such as motorcycling and boating. Company president Steve Hedlund says there was “nothing horribly dynamic about the impact” of early efforts to re-purpose editorial content online. And a few years ago, Ehlert tried to produce cable-TV shows on networks such as Outdoor Life before concluding that the money and effort weren’t worth it.
Then, about nine months ago, Hedlund says, “a light bulb kind of went off…. [We realized that] broadband video over the Internet is a viable proposition…. We set out on a course to redesign all of our Web sites and incorporate video content.” As a result, the company has just implemented a soft re-launch of eight Web sites and created an “Inside Power Sports” news program, and it will start charging advertisers in July.
“With video, our belief is the ad money will be in the form of video ads, and those dollars will come from television budgets,” says Hedlund. “There’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer.”
These days in the magazine industry, what isn’t?