A Facebook-only publication?

When printing was invented, someone eventually found a way to also invent a ‘magazine’, a periodically printed set of papers that had frequently updated content, sold and hand-delivered.

Same thing happened with radio. Once the technology was invented, someone did find a way to create a commercial radio station.

Television – same thing.

All three – magazines, commercial radio station and television channel – started building an audience and took on advertisers to not depend solely on subscription revenue (at least in case of magazines, not so much in case of radio and television, until the advent of pay channels).

Where is this line of thought heading? Yes, internet is next, of course. And people have obviously created the equivalent of a magazine, radio station and television channel via internet too. That is not the point.

The point is on Facebook.

If you consider Facebook (and not its carrier, the internet) as a tool similar to printing, radio and television technology, why don’t we have anyone creating a magazine or a channel on Facebook, build an audience and bring in subscribers/advertisers to mine that audience? Why have Facebook pages been only for brands, by brands (and individuals)?

We have seen media in other formats creating a Facebook page to augment their audience, but not the other way round. Why not a magazine or a channel only on Facebook (and not on a website)?

Nothing impossible – you get a group of people, plan out a content schedule and a niche/focus area, start creating content and start putting it up using Facebook’s native tools – notes, for long for content, images for pictures and videos. The so-called periodic publication resides exclusively on Facebook and makes active use of the networks that Facebook enables.

Once the content gets sticky and people are interested, the Facebook magazine gets brands to advertise the way they do in a printed publication. Technically, you may not be breaking any rule of Facebook as regards advertising – you receive money offline, from relevant brands, and advertise them, within context (to ensure audience acceptance), in your Facebook magazine.

You may well post the question of reach on Facebook and its constant tweaking of algorithm that affects reach. But tell me… which other media vehicle doesn’t have this rule-bending? It is prohibitively expensive to start a radio or television channel… for the man on the road. Magazine too. Much of such rule bending on other media does not happen in the hands of private owners like Facebook (okay, public, after the IPO), but by government regulations!

Also, it perhaps works better than starting a magazine on a website given that you’d need to back it up with promotion on Facebook (irony) and other media. Instead, why not cut the website out and go straight to Facebook.

There is the question of formatting, of course. There are severe restrictions on how the magazine will look and most of it is dictated by Facebook. But the ‘content is king’ mantra should help in addressing it.

So… why is there no magazine/channel existing only on Facebook yet? Or, is there one that I’m not aware of yet?



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4 Responses

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  1. sanjay
    sanjay at | | Reply

    Well this is an idea worth investigating. But as a platform, there are severe limitations. FB is more aboutout connecting than actually experiencing content. You might argue that there are workarounds, including apps, but it will still be a workaround. Somethings like catalogues can easily leverage FB but a Wired or a Forbes- not sure(more of engagement and promotion possible).

    1. Karthik Srinivasan
      Karthik Srinivasan at | | Reply

      Well, which other media did not have ‘limitations’ when people started using it to make a magazine sort of content? When people were writing things by hands, they’d have complained that for the printing to happen in scale, it removes personal and individual style and make all content look similar.

      For radio, people would have wondered who would sit next to a box listening to another person when they could read that other person in a magazine at their own time. TV too would have had its share of naysayers when launched 🙂

      1. Arnab Roy Choudhury
        Arnab Roy Choudhury at | | Reply

        Every website, mag or television show has an online presence and like you some are questioning / thinking of platforms of choice such as Quartz (for the mobile web primarily). As you have rightly mentioned there are severe limitations to how one experiences the content but the other aspect that weighs heavily, is ownership of this experience and revenue sharing. FT & itunes is a case in point.

  2. tejas
    tejas at | | Reply

    @beastoftraal:disqus – You will find this interesting – http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/our-new-shrines/

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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