Is Motor Play the future of motor magazines?

The press release for the launch of MOTOR PLAY – WORLD’S FIRST DIGITAL AUTOMOTIVE MAGAZINE – NOW ONLINE! claims to be the “next wave in motoring media, being the first digital magazine that features text, photography, videos and sounds in a unique format capable of bringing a brand new, entertaining experience to users”.

This is a “monthly publication” which you are expected to download and read onscreen (I couldn’t see a print option). Okay, so I’m not target market, but I found this a less interactive experience than a printed magazine in many respects.  You could click to any article from the contents, but then it was a linear process of page reading – or click back to the contents (which is over two pages).

The promised benefits of sound were frankly irritating rather than adding to the experience – being monotonous “elevator music” rather than related to, or changing with, individual stories. 

It does looks great – and clearly a lot of work has gone into this 1st edition – but another benefit of online is lost as this is only produced monthly (with a pretty standard blog giving some immediacy). 

Video is included of the new BMW X6, but it didn’t excite me much (but I’m not a geeky petrolhead getting turned on by shots of cars down windy roads or close ups of the steering wheel and dashboard).  It wasn’t exactly something I’d expect to find on YouTube being more corporate video in style.

Although the first two issues are free, Motor Play will subsequently cost 1 € per issue to download (or 10 € if you subscribe for 12 months).  The question is will anyone pay?

Despite the claims that you can “flip through the pages of the e-zine just like with a normal printed magazine”, this isn’t really the same type of experience you get with real paper magazines. Admittedly the likes of Car magazine would set you back a few pounds a month (with a current offer of 3 issues for £3).

Motor Play is an interesting development and one no doubt PRs in the UK motoring world will be monitoring closely.  The traditional motor mags already have established presences online where they set out to provide up to date news, as well as blogs and community building activities.  Does the Motor Play concept offer anything new beyond a page turning e-zine?  I’m not convinced.

Ironically, the day this release is issued is one where most of the auto PRs are out of the office as it is the Western Group of Motoring Writers’ Driving Day at Castle Coombe.  This offers the PRs the opportunity to drive competitive models on the road and track and the weather today is ideal for such “hard work”.  I’ll be joining the guys later (as there’s a dinner and we’ve a Meet the Media meeting tomorrow morning).

Surprisingly, neither the Motor Play blog nor the magazine carries any details of real people involved in the project – and I couldn’t find anything about the publication via Google – although I’m sure the auto PR world will know who is behind the initiative.  But why so shy?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Is Motor Play the future of motor magazines?”

  1. Interesting. All very well claiming to be the first automotive digital mag, but many of existing print mags have digital versions. What’s more they’re a lot more ‘clever’ than Motor Play’s download to view option. Why not just open automatically, like http://www.BusinessCar.co.uk/digital. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    I think the likes of Drivers Republic (www.drivers-republic.com) are probably the future for electronic mags.

  2. I agree with you Tristan – there seems no reason why the Motor Play mag doesn’t open automatically and anything that takes time or effort is sure to put readers off. There’s a good buzz going round about Drivers Republic among the auto PRs as it has some solid names behind it. Interesting that DR highlights no contrived publishing formats and no cost – and DR is using YouTube directly with some exciting video footage already.

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