Not quite one year to the day it was announced, Seth Godin is shutting The Domino Project down, offering the awkward explanation that “it was a project, not a lifelong commitment to being a publisher of books,” instead of, perhaps, admitting that publishing is harder than it looks if you want to swim at the deep end of the trade pool in the middle of a dramatic transition, as he obliquely acknowledges in many of his noteworthy takeaways.
It will be interesting to see what other publisher can successfully go the Marvel route; with a $2B+ worldwide box office already in for the Avengers’ on-screen storyworld (one that still bizarrely lives in total isolation from the comics), I’m guessing several will make the attempt within the next 2-3 years. Two gaming franchises I think have some serious transmedia potential are Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls and Activision’s Skylanders, though you might be surprised by which one I think has the most potential.
Nash took an honest shot at something he believed in and, more importantly, maintained his integrity throughout the process. While neither Cursor nor Red Lemonade ended up being the “game changers” some thought they might be, one could argue (and so I will) that the publishing industry overall is stronger for the attempt, and what *did* work shouldn’t be lost in the discussion.
Most magazines, print and digital, are little more than advertising platforms whose readers are defined as “targets”, valued in quantity over quality, and when the advertising revenue stream dries up, the magazines usually fold, readers be damned.
In the pre-digital days, influential media brands like Cosmopolitan and Vogue were one of the primary gateways for marketers to connect with consumers. They offered an attentive audience that would have been difficult for most marketers to gather without investing heavily in staff and infrastructure. Today, those media brands are no longer primary gateways, and marketers aren’t nearly as reliant on them to reach their desired audience as they used to be as they now have cost-effective tools at their disposal to engage directly with consumers.