Editorial: Read it here first

by Pamela Stirling / 06 December, 2012
Now readers can access the <em>Listener’s</em> content wherever they are without having to wait for the print edition to arrive.
Listener - editorial December 8 2012

The Listener has always embraced advances in communication. When, for example, colour television was launched in New Zealand in 1973, the magazine ran an entire cover story on “What to expect from colour” and, just to add to the excitement, even featured the TV test pattern on the cover.

This week the Listener has great news of its own: the launch of the digital edition of the magazine. For the first time, readers can explore all the content of the country’s favourite current affairs and entertainment magazine from the moment it’s released at noon on Thursdays. Current subscribers will receive digital access for free as part of the print subscription. You’ll be sent an access code; once you have this, simply go to the listener.co.nz website and click the register link at the top right. Digital-only subscriptions – saving on print and distribution costs – are also now available.

Online readers tell us they see this as not so much putting up a paywall as breaking down a time wall. No longer will they have to wait weeks for the magazine content to appear on the website. Readers as far afield as Beijing, Washington and London – a third of the traffic to our website is international – now have the opportunity to engage with the magazine in a more immediate way. And because the digital edition is created using responsive design, readers anywhere will be able to read the magazine on the device they choose: on their desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, iPad or other tablet.

The digital edition is the same as in print. This year the Listener won the Best Newsstand Magazine award at the Canon Media Awards, the third time in six years it has won the supreme magazine award, with the judges noting the stories “are exceptionally well written and researched while the diversity of content keeps each edition fresh and engaging”. That won’t change. Our aim is always to produce a compelling magazine that is not afraid to rattle cages but which is a positive, energising force in this nation’s cultural and intellectual life.

It’s simply that now we have new and more direct ways to team up with our intelligent and stimulating readers. We still, of course, love print, and the Listener will always be a mix of the timely and timeless. But for the last year, Toby Manhire has been doing a superb job, with his live blogs and posts, of helping the Listener quietly evolve into a powerhouse multi-platform brand. Now the whole team – and, very importantly, you, the readers – are also joining in.

Our photographer David White had immediate feedback on his insightful shots of the recent Labour Party conference – with one media commentator venturing that “the most incisive coverage of the weekend’s Labour Party conference was not anything anyone wrote or said but photographer David White’s portfolio for the Listener website”. And it was Guyon Espiner’s Listener profile of David Cunliffe that was widely credited with setting the agenda for the Labour Party leadership debate. The good news is now you don’t have to wait to read what everyone is talking about.

But it’s important to be clear. The digital edition is being launched simply to reflect changing reading habits and to enrich your experience of the magazine. The Listener, which has the highest circulation and readership in the current affairs market in New Zealand, is not in the situation that magazines like Newsweek have found themselves. By international standards, the Listener is very successful. Our per-capita circulation is higher than Time magazine’s and more than four times that of the New Yorker and the UK’s Spectator.

No publication, sadly, gets the massive sales the Listener once got simply by putting the TV test pattern on the cover. Do, of course, let us know if you change your mind about that – we’ve got the image right here. But for now we want to thank you, as always, for your support of this magazine and to encourage you to check out the digital edition. Let us know what you think.

For more information, go to www.listener.co.nz/faqs
To subscribe, go to www.listener.co.nz/subscribe
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