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From Traditional Media to Tradigital Media: Reporter’s Notebook from Day One of the Publishing Business Conference and Expo

March 9, 2010

Print has no future. Print has a future. Print will vanish in 20 years. Print is still growing strong and will continue to do so. We are moving from the age of traditional media to the age of tradigital media. Those statements and more were what I heard in day one at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo in New York City. What follows are, in random order, some of those statements and who said them. Enjoy and keep in mind that only two people can ever tell you the future: God and a fool.

From Prescott Shibles, Vital Business Media:

On the state of change: We are moving from traditional media to tradigital media
On using dollars to chase pennies: Print dollars are changing to digital dimes
On the state of the web marketplace: Top 50 web properties hold an 89% revenue market share
On the new targeting: People are moving from site targeting to people targeting
On who has the real power in the digital space: The real powers in the digital space are Apple and Google


From Chris McMurry, CEO McMurry, Inc.:

On McMurry’s agenda for success:
1. Hiring great people, most companies just hire people
2. To make sure we are a great place to work
3. Evolve our business along the needs of our customers (most of them are businesses)
On the new age of advertising: The era of interrupted advertising is coming to a close and they are moving their marketing budgets into content marketing.
On the future of the media: The future of the media on the planet will be driven by corporate interest and not media interest.
On the role of the editor: Today’s editors have to become internal experts in the company regardless of the medium. They have to write, edit, shoot video, be behind the mike, etc. On change: 2009 was a great year to ask editors to change. When you change a title or a name, it forces people to think harder about the change…
On resisting change: As a leader I will not be tolerant with people who resist change.
It is better to buy than to build? Doing video for example, we bought a video company rather than taking the time for organic growth…building things organically costs more money and takes more time
On the future of print: Print is under assault…I still think it has years of life in it…if you are not aggressively growing your digital you will be left behind. The topic is not saving print, but rather the reality of the market place


From Bill Uhler, General Manager, Ogden Publications:

On the future of print: Print remains the main hub for our media business now, but it will continue to shrink… our print revenue have gone from 99.9% to 85%… the main revenue is still coming from print but, print will be smaller. We expect 10X audience for every print reader.
On magazine sales: Our magazine sales were up 16% on the newsstands last year and 11% up on the subscription front. A lot of our titles deal with sustainability…so they resonate with the readers…
On experimenting with higher prices: We were also raising the prices on both newsstands and subscription and it is having a nice effect on the draw. Our draw (number of copies distributed on the newsstands) started going up because the distributor is making more money from the higher cover prices.
On Ogden status: Our company is not shrinking, it is growing…we have no slow down…we are not shrinking back.


From Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO, Forbes Media:

On the future of our industry: We have to get over platforms and delivery and think more of added value. Now the favorite word is metrics.
On the type of content: Make no mistake people want useful content.
On paying for content: You expect the bread and butter and water at a restaurant to be free. You know you are paying for it, but you do not want to see it itemized on your bill. People only pay if they feel they are getting value added information (they are not going to see it another place) unique information and specialized information useful for a particular need.
On the role of the iPads and other tablets: They will not be our salvation, but they will enable us to reach audiences that we were not able to reach. There will be no instant salvation.
On measuring success: How much money do we have in the bank?
On Mr. Forbes current investments: One major area of investment is in the overseas markets, thanks for high tech. We have the world at our fingertips. There is a huge appetite for local editions of Forbes overseas.
On the status of print: Print and books give credibility. Our Forbes Asia has a small circulation, but without the printed edition it will impossible to do the rest of the platforms.
On the future of print: Print will be around, but the business model will change.
On who is going to be the next president of the United States: Not me!

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3 comments

  1. This was soo insightful. Thank you for sharing with us what some of the greats had to say on this very, very important topic…something I think about often, as someone who’s worked in print for so long.


  2. Samir,

    A couple points of clarification. First, I never said that print has no future. I believe in print, but I happen to believe that print brands need to better execute or completely rethink their digital strategies in order to remain as relevant as they have been historically.

    Also, I don’t believe that print dollars MUST turn into digital dimes. I was setting the scene, looking at what was occurring in most publishing companies. eMedia Vitals is having success as a digital-only play because we’re getting dollars online not dimes. We’re not in print because the magazine space is over-served in print yet underserved online.


    • Thanks for the clarifications Prescott. All the best
      Samir



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