From the Editor: Thriving in the New Media Universe
It is essentially the eve of the 2011 Publishing Business Conference as I "pen" this note. My mind is on the brilliant speakers I've talked with during planning, and the conference theme: "Thriving in Today's New Media Universe."
What does that really mean? First, it means things are different today. It's not business as usual for company presidents, CEOs, publishers, manufacturing, production, art, audience development (the "old" circulation) or editorial—for anyone.
I consider print to be the center of gravity around which our new universe revolves. However, for many, that center is undeniably shrinking. I recently spoke with the CEO of a b-to-b publisher that has been a longtime print innovator; I was shocked to learn that print constitutes just 35 percent of the company's business today.
Some publishers have foregone print altogether. The point here is that every business, every market, is different. No one solution exists for "thriving in the new media universe."
But, back to "business as unusual"—if you're pushing your print products as lone wolves to lead your business through the new media tundra, I'm afraid you'll soon be in trouble, if you're not, by some miracle, already. Even publishers whose print products are growing are not ignoring the opportunities to grow in new directions to serve their audiences.
The challenge is determining which path through the tundra makes sense for your business and your audience. If you're a mammoth company with lots of R&D dollars, maybe cutting-edge, high-tech apps are your new focus. You can afford to risk ROI in the quest for longer-term gains. If you have limited resources, however, your approach to the app market will be different. (Eric Shanfelt does a good job of explaining this for controlled-circulation, b-to-b publishers in his latest e-Media Strategist column.)
The other meaning that "thriving in the new media universe" has is a more personal one. How can we, as individuals, continue to thrive in our beloved publishing industry?