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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Earned Media vs. Native Advertising: Smart Publishers Find a Path for Advertiser Content
Mar 3, 2015

An insidious term has started to be widely used these past couple of years. As publishers, we must stamp out...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
How to Look at Your 2014 Sales
Feb 23, 2015

So far I have spent 2015 deep in analyses of publishers' sales in 2014 and before. That probably puts me...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Why Print Magazines Are Not Necessarily Facing Armageddon
Feb 19, 2015

My optimism may be hard to understand with all the data that on the surface seems so damned negative. To...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
The Real Cost of Content Marketing
Dec 10, 2014

How do you respond to advertisers who want to blog more and advertise less? Do you discuss with them the...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
Top 5 Mobile Trends for Publishers—It’s Good News, Folks
Jul 7, 2014

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of my s/heroes. In this day and age of branded...



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher’s Paradox: Your Newsletter Subscribers Are Being Overfed
Apr 28, 2014

Charlie Magazine, based in Charleston, South Carolina, isn't asking its readers to subscribe to everything. Instead, Charlie is inviting readers...



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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