National Geographic was one of the magazines which had a readership that was the envy of the magazines around the world for the eclectic fan following that it has had across the generations. But it also seems to have either started feeling the pinch or has come to realize that to spread its outreach, and to expand its readership among the youth of the modern times, all across the globe, it indeed has to flow in sync with the times. It tested waters in the month of April 2010, when it came out with a special issue on Water that was made available as a free download in the PDF format to the readers around the world. The free downloads had amazing response from all over the world and it must have made the authorities to realize that they indeed need to introspect and bring about a change in their approach.
Indeed they brought out the change in a silent and determined manner through their May 2010 issue by initiating a new marketing campaign. The campaign now allows the readers to get the PDF format of the National Geographic for a year at the meagre cost of only $15. It indeed is a moment of disruption in the history of National Geographic magazine as it is one of the best repositories of information on the natural world from all the world and once it decides to make definite steps to make its presence felt in the digital world in a big way, it would indeed create a new band of followers whose hearts beats for nature. This step could also give a much needed shot in the arm to the spirit of conversation as the kind of rich data that National Geographic has in its repertoire would really warm the cockles of many a nature admirers.
The step taken by National Geographic would warm the cockles of the likes of Rupert Murdoch who has made the content of New York Times that is available online as a paid content. The moot point is that if the content is good, then the reader, who is an aficionado of a subject, would not think twice before investing some money to get an electronic form of the content that he or she likes.
With National Geographic, though in an oblique way stepping the bar, the war for having quality content in the cyber world would further escalate. Readers indeed would be splurge with choice to catch eye-balls and grain would be separated from the chafe in the cyber world.
By: Suman Rai