Publishing Executive December 2009
Doing more with less has become standard operating procedure for most production departments. Many production and manufacturing executives are regularly tasked with reviewing their processes to find even more ways to trim time and costs from the production cycle. Here, industry professionals offer 10 tips for streamlining production.
As 2009 comes to a close, flat remains the (not so) new up in magazine publishing. Print advertising continues to take a flogging, online revenue is still an enigma to many publishers, and trade shows/exhibitions and conferences are taking a hit for many as well. One bright spot, however, may be virtual events—which, due to their no-travel-required nature, actually could be benefiting from the dire economic climate.
While the magazine publishing model is facing multiple challenges, strong circulation numbers remain a priority. For many, circ figures are the best way to make a case to an advertiser. For others, subscriptions are the primary revenue source.
Every media company has different business challenges and business models, but certain strategies can help almost any publisher grow the e-media side of the business. Are they flashy, new strategies? No. Most are boring fundamentals. But in media, as in football, those who best execute the fundamentals are the ones who win.
One of the scariest phrases a magazine publisher will ever utter about a budget is, "I don't know." But more and more publishers are becoming comfortable with those words for 2010.
Publishing executives often ask themselves, "Could I save money if I outsourced our IT functions?" This is not an easy question to answer. Outsourcing was first identified as an IT business strategy in 1989 when Eastman Kodak outsourced all of its information technology systems. Since then, many organizations began considering outsourcing as a way to cut expenses. Decisions were based on cost and whether a service was core to the business. However, the issue is much more complicated.
Over the past 15 years or so, I have become a genius. I know that sounds brash, but the thing is, so have you. In fact, everyone's a genius these days. It is no longer important to just know facts; it is more important to be able to find facts. That is a definite sea change for society and especially for the information distribution business formally known as publishing.
I started trying some years ago to make the magazines on which I work more environmentally friendly, but there was a big problem: me. It took me a long time to realize that much of what I believed regarding the environmental impact of magazine publishing was misguided or just plain wrong.
With many magazine publishers struggling to offset ad revenue declines, reprints and content licensing have become even more important to the bottom line. Making them even more attractive is that generating revenue in this area can take very little time or financial investment. In some respects, it's viewed as free money.
I love this industry. I've been a part of it for 15 years. I believe in the power of print, and I am sure this is why I was once called an "old-school, print cheerleader," or something like that. I know it was meant as a criticism, but I didn't take it as one. However, it would be more accurate to say I am a publishing cheerleader. I want publishers to succeed in print, online, with digital content, video, mobile content, events, data products, lead generation, wherever, whatever. … And I believe they can.