'Digital magazines have had their day'

Digital surfing magazine Drift has decided to switch to a printed format – and its editor has said that he believes digital magazines have ‘had their day”.

Digital magazines are effectively an online facsimile of a print product – and replicate digitally the experience of reading a traditional magazine.

Drift has been growing in readership since its launch in 2005, and editor Howard Swanwick gave up his day job at BBC Magazines Bristol earlier this year to work full-time on the project.

Past sell-by-date

He said: ‘With the internet there’s a lifecycle with these things – buzzwords such as digital magazine, podcast, blogging – they tend to come and go. I think digital magazines have had their day. As a medium to put features in, they don’t work.”

Swanwick said Drift also had problems selling space, because advertisers did not understand the digital format.

The paperless format was originally chosen while Swanwick researched alternatives to tree-based paper, a project still in progress.

The new print version of the magazine will be available in surf shops and independent newsagents in the South West of England with an initial distribution of 10,000 and a cover price of £4.50.

Swanwick said the magazine explores wider topics such as coastal management, community projects and marine biology, rather than just focusing on people’s surfing tales.

He said: ‘The bottom line is that surfers are not just kids with bleached blond hair who listen to Green Day. They are people who are highly educated and really care about the world they live in.”

Drift was originally a side project for Swanwick, but in November last year he set up Pole Star Publishing with John Taylor, who has worked with Haymarket and Future.

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