Where the Heck is the Industry Going?
As an industry, who are we, where are we going, and will we recognize ourselves when we get there? This rant is intended to be a look in the media mirror—call it a “State of the Union” address of sorts.
There has been a lot of news, conjecture and posturing about what the media industry may be morphing into. These changes are not only affecting the industry, but the psyche of the people who work in it. As I travel around the country, I see some members of our industry who are terrified, some who are exhilarated, some who are fearful of losing their jobs, and some who have already lost them. On the other hand, some are adapting to new business models and thriving.
Where are you in this cycle?
There is wild positive speculation mixed in with some doom, gloom and panic. My good friend and industry analyst Dr. Joe Webb says that some people call him Dr. Doom for stating the facts of an industry in transition. Dr. Joe and I forecast change, but in no way do we forecast doom. In fact, I see it in the opposite light. It is an era of tremendous opportunity and growth for electronically coordinated information distributors (publishers).
Look at the past 10 years. Ten years ago, we were arguing about whether or not digital plate-making was a good idea. Ten years ago, we were wondering what the heck a PDF was, and why we would ever use it. Ten years ago—that’s right only 10 years ago—the Internet was in its infancy. Ten years ago, we all had job security.
But, one thing has not changed in 10 years. Publishers still hire writers and editors. Production personnel still format the information, and send it to vendors for global distribution.