When you are pro-war even the abortion doctors call you "baby-killer."

2004-06-28

Here we go again

MacTech magazine (Mac platform developer's magazine) is going to "refocus" its content on a wider range of Mac-centric topics.

The new magazine will have more writers, more technical (web, network, server admin) topics and focus more on Cocoa (this is new?).

There are several problems that are not addressed and conversely reasons why they are doing this. For one thing including developer tools with every copy of Mac OS X has caused an explosion of hobbyist or Shareware-level developers. There are hundreds of text editors and image editors now thanks to free development tools, its almost as bad as on Windows now. These people are not likely to spend any amount of money on a "geek" magazine that tells them what they probably already know or don't care to know (some other framework/language than what they use).

Also with the Internet you can access an immense wealth of information within seconds on any topic, both professionally written articles or how-tos all the way to anecdotal tips and tricks in dozens of message boards or mailing lists - for free. At any time of the day or night, on weekendds or on vacation.

Magazines, not just developer/techie ones like MacTech, fall on their face most often because of the following reasons:

They are slow. It takes a month between issues and the production demands, despite modern desktop publishing is around 3-4 months ahead of publication for most issues. The world can change dramatically in 3-4 months. By the time you get your "new" magazine a new version of Mac OS X or Xcode could have come out obsoleting the content in the magazine.

They are thin. MacTech has always been a very thin magazine with maybe two or three major topics covered in each issue in detail. So you have waited a month to get a new issue and the magazine is devoted to WebObjects, and you are a Carbon developer who makes education titles for Classic and Mac OS X. Of course if you build up a collection you can easily pull out a relevant issue as you need it or learn new APIs or parts of the Mac OS that you would not otherwise get to. MacAddict also goes through an anorexia phase every other year it seems.

They have more ads than content. I have seen magazine editors claim that advertisers demand there be a majority of ads in a magazine in relation to the actual content. More ads than content. WTF is that? So to get more content you must pad the magazine with even more ads, which are harder to come buy in a niche market like Mac platform development.

I can go to a web site and get more content in 10 minutes than 3 months of magazines and be exposed to 1/20th the ads.

Lastly there is the simple fact that a lot people simply hate to pay for something, anything. Asking $1 for a music track is too much to some people. So asking for a bunch of money per year for a thin magazine that takes a month between issues and may not even be relevant to their interests is not appealing. They could better spend their money on other things, like blank DVDs to burn the video games they downloaded off LimeWire for their XBOX someone gave them for a gift last birthday.


More power to MacTech. Magazines are getting to be a very hard business to be in (in the US). Perhaps they should talk to Japanese Mac magazine publishers and figure out how they make a magazine 3-4 times as thick as US Mac magazines absolutely crammed with product reviews, tutorials and more (and a lot of ads). It's really astounding seeing Japanese Mac mags, not that I can read them or anything. I just don't why we can't do that here.

Oh well. Back to KoL.