Can Personalized Magazines Save Print?

Two of the biggest challenges for traditional media companies are saving print and increasing diminishing ad dollars.

Time Inc.’s new experimental magazine “Mine” aims to tackle both of those.

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Mine is designed to deliver readers a magazine that matches their personal interests – much like an RSS or social media feed.  Readers can select stories from five of eight magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, InStyle, Golf, and Travel and Leisure.  Editors then pull specific stories from those issues and package them into your personal Mine magazine.

As far as targeted advertising, Toyota Motor Corp. is supporting all of the ads in the magazines, paralleling its customizable nature to the customization of its new Lexus 2010 RX sport utility vehicle.  According to an article in the AP, “A sample ad tag line for a respondent named Dave, who lives in Los Angeles and eats sushi, might read: “Hey Dave: your friends will be really impressed when you drive down Van Ness Avenue on your way to get sushi.”

I think Mine is a great idea and definitely innovative, but I think it’s too early to predict how much it will really do to boost print readership.  I also wonder if the articles included in Mine have already appeared in print, and if so, if a reader will get board if they’ve already read one or two of the magazines separately.  If you’re a girl that’s not interested in sports or finances, your choices among those eight magazines are fairly limited.  And the targeted advertising – how will they get that level of detail to create an ad that knows what type of food you like? 

Hopefully these questions will be answered as the experiment gets underway.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in trying it, you can sign up here.  The first 31,000 subscribers get the print version for free (an online version is available for another 200,000).

I’ll let you know what I think once I get my first issue…   

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