Traditional Publishing in Jeopardy

From AdWeek, an article titled “Print is not Enough.”

“If you’re a magazine publisher who believes print ads alone will remain a viable business, Robin Steinberg has a message for you: think again… pressure is mounting on magazines to offer advertisers multiplatform packages that tie-in to the Web, mobile and other appropriate digital media.”

“Readers “love and trust some magazines,” Steinberg said. Those emotional ties must be tapped and publishers should encourage dialog between readers and the publication via digital media, she added. “Give your readers options to interact with each other and your brand. Build an online community where the common thread is your brand,” she said.”

Recent numbers from New York Times underscore this point: they forecasted a sharp fall in 3rd quarter earnings.

“The slump is not the result of a soft economy or a move to a new medium. They’re moving it (advertising dollars) all over the place because they’re looking for something that works.”

These changes are forcing some publishers to do whatever they can to come up with their ’06 numbers:

“Magazine publishers striving to make or beat their annual numbers are digging out an old tool for late-year cost containment: the hiring freeze.”

This trend is extending not only to the current state of publishing, but also to its future:

“With the Internet taking readers and advertisers away from print in dramatic fashion this year, the overall number of magazine launches is expected to plunge 17% in 2006.”

With a new generation growing up online, some are looking ahead at how this will affect publishers:

“The New York Times Co.’s new futurist-in-residence predicts that a new generation of newspaper readers will soon be accustomed to reading news on a screen and won’t possess an “emotional attachment” to paper.”

But it’s not all bad news!

“It all begins with writers, reporters and editors who can recognize and tell a good story. If you don’t have those folks on your side, it doesn’t make any difference how good the widgets are.”

And the Web is opening up the value of smaller markets:

“We are seeing much more micromarketing opportunities. You can get closer to the customers and find a reader that really wants to get closer to the product,” says Neil Clemmons, senior vice president of Critical Mass.”

This statement was mirrored by Ross Levinsohn, President Fox Interactive Media:

“…user-generated content has the advantage of “rich CPMs” from “hyper-targeted advertising.”

Ruminations from journalist turned blogger Tom Foremski says a lot:

“I had no idea that something as simple as blogging could be so interesting and lead me to so many insights and discoveries.”