How YouTube could kill off women's magazines
Tomorrow's magazine journalist may be more likely to work with video, answer reader comments online and push out news on social media, if Hearst's Hello Style YouTube channel is any indication.
The recently launched Hearst channel brings together five of the publishing behemoth's women's titles, including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, to create videos with a US$10 million budget provided by YouTube.
The result? To date, a few dozen videos with content that goes down so easy--like an ice cream treat, if you will--that it makes the paper editions of these magazines seem obsolete. The initial line-up is a banquet of fresh content, offered five days a week, including "Sexy vs. Skanky," "Big Girl in a Skinny World" and "Visible Panty Lines."
You might thumb through Cosmo at the hairdresser's or a doctor's office, but if you want to try the manicure style du jour you'd be better served watching the quick tutorial on Hello Style.
Similarly, makeovers, those old stand-by features of the women's mag, get, well, an extreme makeover with video. It's more entertaining to watch an unsuspecting woman get a "runway makeover" that turns her into a clown. Before she can see the results, she has to ask passersby in New York what they think. This is definitely more schadenfreude fun than it would be with photos.
So far, the reaction from subscribers to the channel has been positive, though many don't understand the channel's stockpiling of evergreen content, a typical strategy for a monthly.
"You guys need to stop posting like 10 videos per day.......... all i see in my subscription bar thingy is your videos...i like them but its too much!!" said nailsbeautyfashion, in a comment echoed by other viewers.
Unlike other publishing-to-TV ventures we've looked at, including Reuters TV and the New York Times' show, Hello Style seems to cannibalize more than complement the original. With the added interactivity of a community manager jumping in to respond to comments online and a Twitter stream packed with giveaways, why bother with the paper version?
And while it's true that you can't take your computer everywhere, you can certainly stream videos on a smartphone or tablet computer about easily as you could a carry magazine.