Goodbye, Runner's World the magazine. Hello, Runner's World the CD-ROM.
The iconic global running title announced Sunday it would no longer print physical copies, instead "publishing" and delivering the magazine to subscribers each month via CD-ROM. Each disc will include what a publicist called "cool interactive features," audio, and even video.
"Today we say goodbye to the constraints of the printed page," said the publicist, William Randolph. "Compact Disc Read-Only Memory technology will allow us to really usher the brand into the 21st century and bring the magazine to life in ways that just weren't possible before. Plus, you can store the discs in binders with plastic sleeves, which will save a lot of space."
"We are very excited," he added, "and we think our readers will be, too."
In addition to being shipped to the title's estimated 660,000 subscribers, Randolph said, the new format will get extremely wide distribution. Each month millions of shiny "free trial" discs will be mailed to homes, given away at fast food restaurants, and even tucked into copies of other magazines.
Industry experts applauded Runner's World move, calling it shrewd and a "bold initiative."
"Basically," said Charles Kane, a media analyst, "they're following the AOL model. And look at how that worked for AOL."
"They saw the writing on the wall," Kane added. "Print is dead. The future is electronic. I think this is a very smart move for the brand."