Much has been said and written about the evolution of the media industry, especially the print space. Having worked in the magazine, it is a segment of the media industry that especially interests and intrigues me. Being a partner in a content and media consulting business, it is in my professional interests to continue to plug into developments in that realm. A significant part of the discussion around the traditional magazine business model has been how to make up for the diminishing advertising revenues which is where magazines generally made their money. With digital impacting on these revenues, magazines have also expanded into that realm, with varying levels of success but it, frankly, is not enough.
I have some theories around a potential future of media companies and content, which I do speak on. There is a version of that talk HERE. At the root of these thoughts is an extremely integrated approach to content development with a blurring of the lines between platforms and types of media. We used to talk of ‘multimedia’ companies as separate from traditional media companies; now, every media company, in reality, needs to be a multimedia company, an event company, a production house, etc.
Potential Revenue Stream for Magazines
Within the South African market, we are seeing more and more media houses diversifying in this manner, particularly digitally and in eventing. But, there is one potential revenue generating that has been difficult to crack.
You are reading through your favourite magazine, perhaps the tech, cooking, or fashion pages. You come across a product review or see something in the fashion spread that you really like. At that moment, if there was a knock on the door and, when you opened it, there was someone standing there, product in hand for you to purchase, you would probably by it – once you got over how eerie that would be. Instead, you make a mental note to check it out and move on. When you are at the shops, you may have forgotten about the item or remembered that school fees is due, debit orders are about to go off, etc.
WeChat, in collaboration with Stuff magazine and Incredible Connection, may just have found a solution for this. I have written about WeChat before. In China, WeChat ‘Weixin’ exists is more than just an instant messaging app. You can do everything from getting your house cleaned and laundry done to ordering food within the platform.
In South Africa and Africa, they have been exploring how to build an ecosystem that is as engaging as it is in China. Their involvement in the on-demand delivery service picup and previous involvement with micro-jobbing platform M4Jam are part of this drive to be more and do more. But, it is the launch of WeChat Wallet that has the potential to truly change the way we interact with the app and this is at the heart of the collaboration with Stuff and Incredible Connection. For more on WeChat Wallet, check HERE.
How it works is relatively simple. In the July-August issue of Stuff magazine, there are various tech products available on promotion, with a QR Code on the page. Scan the QR code with WeChat and it takes you to your Wallet. Click Ship It, enter your details, including delivery address and click Purchase. Products include an iPad Mini 2 (R4,499), the Fitbit Alta (R1,999), the JBL Xtreme BT Speaker (R4,499), an Acer 15in laptop (R3,999) and the Xiaomi Redmi 2 8GB (R1,599). The items are at a reduced price and you also get cash back into your WeChat Wallet for each purchase.
Imagine the possibilities if WeChat is able to build on this and collaborate with multiple publications and brands. I am curious to know what magazines you would like to see WeChat partnering with and what products you would like to see them making available.