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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

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...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Thought’s on the IMAG-MPA Conference And a Love Letter From Samir Husni
May 22, 2015

Professor Samir Husni and I both love the magazine industry, yet we come to that affection from completely different directions....



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
The Unintended Consequences of Data Targeting
May 8, 2015

Every brand is attempting to deliver a unique experience for every single person it engages with. This is not a...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
How To "Onboard" Your Audience
May 12, 2015

Publisher should act as "mentor" or "guide" to new audience members that arrive at their sites. Whether or not you...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
The Growth of Marijuana Business Media
May 7, 2015

The first trade magazine I launched, Paraphernalia & Accessories Digest, served the headshop industry. I had cofounded High Times four years earlier,...



Newspapers Confront Competing Realities

 
Mike Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch both love newspapers. Murdoch loves the Wall Street Journal so much he bought it (even though he thought the articles were a bit long), made it lose weight, trussed it up a bit with color and reshaped it into a general interest newspaper.

Bloomberg speaks lovingly of the Financial Times. When asked recently if he might buy the paper, he responded "I buy it every day!" (Talk about a hedge.) His staff loves it too, believing it would be a game-changing platform for Bloomberg's high-quality content, creating a new global forum for deep dives into business and finance that could, the thinking goes, fill a niche left underserved by Murdoch's changes to the WSJ.

It all makes so much sense—except financially. And here's the rub for the media business. A company produces an excellent product, which people love. There's synergy (to use a cursed term) with the business operations of a potential deep-pocketed buyer. Yet, it's still a tough sell, because it doesn't make a lot of money. When quality and passion—even profits (but not much growth)—can't get people to open their checkbook, what can?

Newspapers, whatever they try to tell you, are far from out of the woods, because it is still the case that digital advertising revenue cannot approach what can be earned from print. It's not even close. It may be an old story at this point, but it's no less critical an issue than it was a couple of years ago. Markets pay attention to trends, and even a paper with 600,000 subscribers and a robust paywall is a tough sell, because as subscribers move from print to digital, the ad revenue does not keep up. Without huge spikes in either subscribers or ad rates, the line will continue to point in the wrong direction.

Maybe Bloomberg could bring those new subscribers. Maybe ancillary products, licensing, services and events could fill the gap. Maybe—but it's a risk. Maybe Mayor Mike should get Warren Buffett on the horn.

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