BoSacks - The Profit Prophet: Will You Survive Publishing's Perfect Storm?
Let’s face it, traditional publishing is under serious attack. We are facing both the customary enemy of rising manufacturing costs and the nontraditional entry of strong digital competition where once none existed. And if that wasn’t enough, we have the increasingly evident disadvantage of a terrible carbon footprint. This is a perfect storm of tremendous proportions. What are publishers to do? How can we survive?
In the past few weeks, a couple of headlines have crossed my desk. Each alone is powerful enough, but when considered together they offer terra-forming, watershed moments for the magazine industry, and, if viewed correctly, financial hope and a foundation for a very successful publishing enterprise.
The first headline comes from a Media-Ideas press release that claimed that: “In 25 years, digital magazines will command 75 percent of the magazine market.” That is a powerful statement and, even if these calculations are off by 50 percent, it means that almost 40 percent of printed magazines will be gone in 25 years. Will yours be one of those missing titles? Are you gearing up for that kind of transformation?
Media-Ideas attributes this transition to the growth of new and more affordable, flexible e-reading technologies, some apparently ready for deployment as early as 2009. These devices will be full-color, flexible, e-paper-based reading instruments. There will be several stages to the development and release of these new products, but the results will be staggering. I believe that the 25-year time line is conservative, as technology notoriously proceeds much faster than anyone can predict.
The next headline is a statement from the United Nations communications chief, who predicts that more than half of the world’s population will be connected by some sort of mobile phone before 2009. That is a large number of people possessing Web-accessible, text-reading, communication devices. Can you imagine when flexible e-paper, digital-magazine-reproducing products get into that global equation?