From the Editor: Have You Forsaken Print?
(And a side note regarding newsstand decline: How can it not decline when shelf space at retailers has continuously been whittled down with each passing year?)
I am not trying to deny for a moment that mobile consumption is growing. It really can’t be denied. And digital editions have been given a huge breath of life from tablets and the enhancements they can provide to content. But they are all different. Radio is not simply TV without a picture, nor is television just film shown on a small screen. Sure, movies are shown on TV, but the medium changes the experience. Live band performances are not the same as albums (we can still call them albums right?) or mp3s or FLACs or tracks…
The way we promote all of the formats in which our content is distributed is just as important as what content we put on them.
Yes, most publishers are increasingly expanding the types of content they produce. In fact, in the interview I just did with Source Interlink Media President Chris Argentieri, Chris suggests that the entire industry would benefit if publishers would start identifying themselves as “integrated media companies” (vs. magazine publishing companies), of which print is an important part. Source Interlink is consistently growing in digital about 20 percent annually. Despite that, Chris says, “Print is still the key driver of our business.” In fact, his company just launched two new print publications that are seeing early success. But the company also is launching brand extensions, tablet versions, mobile products, YouTube channels for video and more.
As an industry, our collective essence is content. We will survive no matter the medium on which we display that content, provided the content is compelling, valuable and non-existent elsewhere—and that the business model is sound. And our foundation is print. It has been for eons. We are expanding on that foundation and certainly shifting pieces of it around; but the rapid pace at which so many publishers are abandoning this print foundation—from drastically cutting resources and investment in print to shuttering magazines altogether—has me a bit perplexed. So, I ask you, why are so many publishers so very quickly turning their backs on print?