Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogworking Goes to Print: Online Communities Generate Relevant Print Communities

A recent rant on AlwaysOn discussing blogworking - community-developed weblogs, or "mob weblogs," if you will - noted that AlwaysOn has spun off a quarterly print publication that packages together its insights on technology and media with special online access privileges and special discounts. This is yet another example of online-first publications developing new revenue streams from print, but most interestingly one derived from a true online publishing community. Magazines and journals have always been about trying to define and service specific communities, but it's interesting to note how print publications can spring from successful online communities that define themselves, as opposed to having to rely on overdesigned marketing studies to trim down content to what appeals to a given demographic. Print as a service to club/association/community members takes on a new meaning in this light as a premium capability for ad-supported online community members who want to upgrade to a new type of "in" crowd within that community. These kinds of uses of the print medium as secondary channels for premium communities are likely to increase and prevail as the changing economics of publishing make "online-first" revenues an economic necessity. Print as a primary model for publishers may be seeing its day pass, but trees will continue to be killed in the name of content that draws people together.
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