When does customisation work?

Customising products and services works on the premise of 'personalisation' that would be welcomed by the consumer. APNews reports that 'Time Inc. is experimenting with a customized magazine that combines reader-selected sections from eight publications as it tries to mimic in printed form the personalized news feeds that have become popular on the Internet.

Readers can select five titles from eight published by subsidiaries of Time Warner Inc. and American Express Co., Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure. Editors will pre-select the stories that make it into every biweekly issue, and readers won't have the option of changing the picks from issue to issue.

My skepticism at Time Inc.'s initiative arises from my evaluation of the reader out there. I guess each of these publications has its own target reader segment. That's a valid assumption to make. The customisation drive will work only if that readership cuts across these magazines (for the same reader), and that, that reader would now appreciate a magazine that has a combination of stories from across the listed magazines. But then why would he want a mix of stories? That way he doesn't have to buy all of them? Isn't that bad for each of these print publications? Plus what about the stories the reader misses out on, in the original that doesn't feature in the new one?

That's too many problems out there. The fact that, there exists eight print titles out there ironically points to 'customisation'. So again, I wonder how combining stories betters on it.


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