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President, The Precision Media Group

Media Vent

By Bob Sacks

About Bob

Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.

 

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Relax, People! Time Inc.-Meredith Deal No Nail in the Coffin

 
You just have to love a self-flagellating industry like ours that has such a lack of self-confidence and has such a misunderstanding of its own noble and proper place in the universe. In the past week I have read the very good and the very bad of a misunderstood situation. I have read that idiots have run Time, Inc. for years and proceeded to run it into the ground. I have also read of that the very same group of supposed idiots were actually geniuses that ran the company far beyond anyone's possible expectations. I have read that sending the titles to the Midwest is just another sign of the doom of the publishing industry. I read that the deal is the final nail in the paper coffin of publishing.
 
Here is some advice for everyone. Sit down and relax. The universe is not ending, the paper products we cherish are not dying, and the Midwest makes just as good a place to run a business as anywhere else on the planet, and perhaps by demonstrated results, better than most. The absurd hubris of some pundits is beyond my ability to measure.
 
My buddy Deadtree nailed it correctly with his My Heartfelt Apology to the Publishing Industry. Most other pundits missed the mark by a very wide margin.
 
Being a renowned pundit myself it is almost hard for me to say that some of you are dead wrong and I am right. I guess Walter Huston said it best in The Treasure of Sierra Madre:
 
"Let me tell you something, my two fine bedfellows, you're so dumb, there's nothin' to compare ya with, you're dumber than the dumbest jackass. Look at each other, will ya? Did you ever see anything like yourself for bein'  dumb specimens. You're so dumb, you don't even see the riches you're treadin' on with your own feet."
 
That is right, "...you don't even see the riches you're treadin' on with your own feet."
 
It's just a freaking business deal that makes all the sense in the world. It is good for almost everyone. I admit that some people will lose their jobs over this, but many others will also be hired. Our business employment level has been contracting for a decade. Nothing new there. It is the natural flow of business and the normal consequences of buying and selling a business. Time Warner is ready to move on, and Meredith is ready to grow. In my opinion the management at Meredith is supremely stellar and they have more than proved their smarts and flexibility in an ever changing complex industry.
 
Since when did we fear such consolidation and new alliances? This is not an AOL/Time, Inc. merger. It is not oil and water, it is liquid gold mixing with liquid gold. The same only different. I'll bet any of you a free lifetime subscription to my newsletter that Meredith takes this new venture and runs with it like Jackie Robinson ran the bases -smooth, quick, efficient and with a definite flair.
 
This business deal doesn't mean a damn thing about the death or conversely, the successful continuance of print or publishing. Good print will be around for generations, and so will good publishers. Bad print and inflexible publishers are as good as dead already. The only question worth pondering is, which are you?
 
As Omar Khayyam said:
 
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it"

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