Video or Text ?
I've been a magazine publisher for 20 years now. Along the way, our company diversified into other media including books, instructional videos and most recently podcasting. Over the years, we've considered launching new products into new markets.
As I write this column, I have written more than 200 Viewfinder columns, so it is clear that I like writing. I have pondered launching a new product aimed at writers. Videomaker Magazine's equivalent is Writer's Digest, a monthly magazine for writers interested in improving their skills. They do a pretty good job, so we have never followed through on our desire to launch a new magazine for writers. While there are other ways to serve the market for writers, and we are pretty good at producing videos, we never considered launching an instructional video to teach people how to improve their writing skills. It just seems like the wrong medium for the purpose. Writers need to see the work of other writers. You can't easily show good writing on a TV screen.
This gets me to thinking about what we do with Videomaker Magazine. Our text via ink on paper seems like the wrong medium for the purpose. When we launched the magazine in 1986, there was no practical way for us to reach 60,000 people with a monthly instructional videotape. Readers were happy to have ANY monthly information that helped them to improve their video production skills. However, it was on paper, not video. When we launched The Videomaker TV Show in 1993, we could share our knowledge using video in addition to paper and ink. We purchased infomercial time from a major cable TV network for $2,000, which allowed us to cablecast our show via special subscriptions. After a year the cost for infomercial time increased dramatically and the venture was no longer financially feasible.
About a year ago, I wrote about vidcasting, a new way to deliver video. Also known as video podcasting, this method uses the Internet to deliver video automatically to a personal computer. A few months ago we launched our weekly vidcast, Videomaker Presents (available at www.videomaker.com/vidcast), which is likeThe Videomaker TV Show reborn. So now we use video to teach people how to make video.
This comes at an interesting time when many are questioning the future of the periodical publishing industry, what cynics call the "dead tree" business. Videomaker Presents is not only a richer experience compared to a printed magazine, but it is also fresher. Readers typically see the magazine 70 days after we finish writing the articles, while viewers of Videomaker Presents see the show in a tenth of that time.
I hope you continue to watch, and send us your comments on our exciting new VIDEO venture.
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor