By the time this issue of the SBR hits the street (or rather your physical mailboxes, dear readers), we will be in December and almost everything will be reminding us of the jolly festivities just around the corner – Christmas is here again! For Christmas, we all have the tradition of giving each other gifts, and we at the SBR – and not least our ‘owners’, the Danish Master Brewer’s Guild – also feel in that generous mode this year. And our present to you – our readers, subscribers, authors and advertisers – is what I will not hesitate to call the best and biggest news for as far back as I can remember: The SBR goes digital and online as of the first issue in 2018!
In its century-old history, our magazine has undergone many changes, upgrades and updates, but moving our entire ‘platform’ from the traditional, printed, hard-copy magazine format to a digital platform available online is no doubt one of the biggest, if not the biggest ever! And let there be no secret: To those of us working with and for the magazine on a daily basis, this is delightful news. As indicated by the title of this editorial, this move can be seen as simply following the trends of the time – in our days, everything else, not least within communications, happens on digital platforms. So the SBR is simply moving along with the rest of the world around us.
I know that there will be many of our faithful SBR readers who’ll be skeptical, either because they do not really feel comfortable with modern IT technology and have decided to do without it, or because they simply like the feel of a goodlooking, glossy and weighty paper magazine. Let me hurry to say to you, if you’re amongst them, that the good old, familiar paper edition of the Scandinavian Brewers Review will continue to be published and sent to your postbox. However, in the long term, we will probably offer new types of subscriptions which will take into account the subscribers who want EITHER a digital OR a print edition of our magazine.
Before shortly listing the factual consequences of our big move and decision, I would like to say that going digital implies so many real and tangible advantages for the SBR that the fact that we’re merely moving along with the remainder of the world around us becomes almost irrelevant and negligible. Everything related to the magazine will become much more dynamic, lively and interesting – in short, much more relevant. With the move, we hope that the SBR will become a, if not daily, then at least regular, go-to source for updated news and information on what’s going on in relation to brewing in the Nordics and the Baltics. Another hope is that, taking inspiration from the huge amount of information and debate that has moved to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc., etc., the SBR may become THE social media platform related to all things beer and brewing. In our region and beyond.
How will the move to an online digital platform take place, and what are the practical consequences? Obviously, describing this in detail goes far beyond the scope of an editorial, and describing it in dead and dull words will, in any case, never give a full picture of what it implies. This has to be felt and experienced by all of you when it has gone live. But to give just a feel for the ‘New SBR’, here are a few important facts:
- The ‘New SBR’ will function through a heavily updated and expanded website for the magazine. (Check the old one at https://www.scandbrewrev.dk/. That, in 2017, is close to really embarrassing!)
- The move will take effect as of the first issue, No. 1/2018, of the SBR in 2018.
- For subscribers, there will be full access to all things SBR on every imaginable platform – PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.
- This access will include an archive of earlier issues of the SBR. How many we’ll manage to include as per the introduction is as yet unclear.
- We’ll introduce a newsfeed on the website for important and relevant news as it appears, instead of having to wait until the release of next paper issue.
- For anyone accessing the website, there will be access to our updated newsfeed as well as to selected articles and excerpts from the magazine.
- For suppliers and advertisers, there will be options for including links to their websites in their ads and possibly even in articles, too.
- Advertisers may also be able to place banner ads on the website.
All in all, going digital will give the SBR a far bigger reach than it has had hitherto. Anyone around the globe who either has an interest in specific topics covered by articles in the SBR (onward, these will pop up when people are doing Google searches on specific topics) or is simply interested in what’s going on in our industry and our area will have easy access to this information through the SBR. And I know from my time as technical editor that there are lots of these people and companies out there, but the hassle and the expense of buying a subscription has effectively kept these people and companies from getting what they were looking for or had an interest in. And with these new online features, it would be very surprising to me if the amount of subscribers, within and beyond our own region, does not quickly expand quite significantly.
The bigger reach will not only mean that we’ll be able to service a lot larger audience, but it definitely also opens the opportunities for making the quality of the magazine’s contents a lot better. The main challenge for me as the technical editor is and has all the time been to source enough articles of sufficient relevance in order to publish them in the magazine. In the early days – I’ve had my current role with the SBR since 2010 – the situation was often that I had no choice but to publish anything that I could find, entirely without being able to critically discard those articles that I was not content with. Although this situation in the past couple of years has changed for the better, I am not in the least in doubt that the relevance of the SBR to those authors I would like to bring on board will be hugely increased. Their knowledge that, onward, the SBR will go out far beyond the ‘closed circuit’ of Nordic and Baltic brewing professionals will increase their motivation to contribute. And a clearly better magazine with regard to the contents, a consequence of going digital, should, in my view, be a very strong argument even for the most skeptical reader. Budget is always an important parameter, not least when you issue a magazine. And, as has been reported on several occasions in my editorials, the budget of the SBR has for a long time been very stressed, to put it mildly. Things were relatively stable at modest, but acceptable, levels up until the financial crisis in 2007/2008. But the crisis – along with the trend of more and more communication going digital as well as the ongoing consolidation within the brewing industry – made the suppliers to the industry who constitute our existing and potential advertisers take a very hard look at their marketing budgets and their marketing spread. And, to say the least, the outcome of these reviews was not to the benefit of the SBR! The new opportunities for advertisers will make the SBR fit a lot better into these revised marketing strategies for our potential advertisers, and the vastly increased reach of the SBR will add to making the ‘New SBR’ much more relevant for them. And more ads mean a better budget.
If you are a technical geek or just a bit more interested than the average reader, I can inform you that the platform we’ve chosen is called NappSiesta, and it can be accessed through their website www.nappsiesta.com. The website may be a bit confusing to navigate as NappSieasta’s platform is a general one for all types of companies and not specifically for magazines.
May I finish with some news that is not directly related to the move of going digital: It has been decided and approved by all the Master Brewers’ Guilds around our region that we’ll find and appoint regular ‘correspondents’ in all countries covered by the SBR. These correspondents will be given responsibility to source relevant news from their individual countries and supply this to me, the technical editor. This move should hopefully change the bias towards contents from predominantly Denmark – a bias that has been severely and rightly criticized by representatives from the other countries.
Please remember that we at the SBR very strongly encourage you to comment on the anything you wish to comment on in the magazine, but obviously particularly to the editorial. Please forward your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – and what a new year it will be for us at the SBR and hopefully for all readers, subscribers and advertisers as well!
Technical Editor, Scandinavian Brewer’s Review