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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

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...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Thoughts on MAGNET 2015 Q1 Newsstand Sales Results
Jun 1, 2015

There is absolutely nothing new in the latest newsstand reports that we didn't really already know, and the latest stats...



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...



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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