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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Stats on Magazine Launches Are Irrelevant & Misleading
Jul 2, 2015

My friend Samir Husni has penned a short essay and complaint about "numbers" used in our industry for purposes of...



Marketing Services Lab

The Marketing Services Lab
3 Ways To Tell The Content Marketing Boom Spells Revenue Growth for Publishers
Jun 30, 2015

Last week Publishing Executive announced the launch of the Publishing & Media Labthat we will host at the 2015 Content Marketing World conference this...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Miniaturize & Simplify, Solutions to Publishers' Mobile Problem
Jun 15, 2015

As many publishers have found, providing a magazine experience on a mobile app and getting people to engage with it...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Content is Money
Jun 12, 2015

Most of the publishing world says Content is King. The publishers at SIPA say Content is Money. The annual conference...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
Apple Throws Publishers Another Curve Ball
Jun 9, 2015

The relationship between Apple and the magazine publishing industry has been acrimonious since the launch of the iPad in 2010...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
4 Takeaways from the New Apple App Analytics
May 26, 2015

One of the lesser-known facts about magazine apps is that publishers can glean very little information about them and how...



Is New York Publishing On the Ropes?

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An unexpected debate around Publishing Executive blogger Ron Matejko's recent post on the possible sale of Time Inc. concerned the location of Matejko's publishing concern, MVP Media. Some readers felt that, being located in Arizona, Matejko was not qualified to comment on the digital strategy of a New York publisher.

Whatever you think of the merits of this debate, it does point to a very real phenomenon—the cultural divide between New York publishers and their brethren elsewhere in the U.S. In a rapidly changing market that favors agile operators and out-of-the-box thinking, do long-ingrained habits and biases put the likes of Time Inc., Hearst and Conde Nast at a disadvantage?

Some recent developments suggest it might. An article in today's Wall Street Journal argues Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Publishing, reportedly in talks to combine its portfolio with most of Time Inc.'s magazines in a spun-off company, is better positioned to maintain healthy growth in the magazine sector. The culture gap between Meredith and Time Inc. was made apparent two years ago when Jack Griffin, brought over from Meredith to head Time Inc., was fired as CEO after only six months. (The official line was that management styles did not "mesh.") Meredith, driven by a "no-nonsense," "team-oriented" culture, has been more proactive than many of its peers in becoming a diversified media company and acquiring brands in its core markets, the Journal reports. 

Looking beyond Meredith, it's worth noting that many feel the future of magazines is in niche markets—traditionally the bailiwick of heartland publishers like F+W Media, Ogden Publications, Inc. and Kalmbach Publishing, all of whom have seen healthy growth in recent years. In 2010, Kalmbach acquired New York-based Discover magazine, and by 2012 had successfully transferred all editorial and design operations from the Big Apple to Waukesha, Wis.

So, is New York publishing on the ropes? As many have pointed out in recent days, Time Inc. still makes an awful lot of money. Hearst has proven many times over that it understands the need to diversity operations, buying ad agencies, investing in digital platforms and acquiring stakes in media start-ups. The problem for consumer magazine publishers has been slowing growth, which displeases investors. Lay-offs and shuttered brands have been much in the news in recent years as the largest companies seek to set a new course, and sometimes it appears that younger, smaller, digital-native or special-interest-focused companies are running rings around the big boys.

Perhaps, as one Matejko reader suggests, large, legacy-print publishing concerns are fated to go the way of Polaroid. If so, I'll bet many of the media companies that rise from the ashes will still have their feet planted firmly in Manhattan.
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