It Must Be the End of the World as We Know It. Or is it?
I have to be honest. I get the sense every now and then that there is a pervading feeling of doom for traditional media. It just isn’t true that traditional media is doomed. If you have made the transition from the pre-digital world of yesterday to the digital world of now and you are still here and making money, then there is no doom and gloom for your part of the media industry. At least not today. But what about tomorrow? Ah, that is the worrisome question. What about tomorrow?
Pick a format and no doubt it will be around for generations to come. I include print in that firm and provocative forecast. Even print will have its place in the evolving media mix. It may not be as big as it once was, in fact it won’t be. But print will be here for some time to come. Industry fears need to be tempered with reality and the reality is this – give the pubic what they actually want and the substrate becomes irrelevant.
Most of the industry angst is based on people trying to keep their current jobs. That is indeed a problem worth fretting over, but it is also a problem that is irrelevant to the eventual outcome.
It is worth noting that quality becomes increasingly important with the quantity of media now available. And as we all know perceived quality is an ever moving and redefined process. What was once supreme quality can in the blink of an eye be your father’s quaint and nostalgic way of doing things.
Important to keep in mind is the fact that reading isn’t going away – not ever. An informed public isn’t a thing of the past. And companies that make money selling words and thought to the public will be around forever.
If possible, it is best not to fight the changes, but to accept them as facts, learn as much as possible, adopt what will be useful, and create what you need – in other words, go with the flow. Deliver the best product you are capable of delivering and Darwin’s law of publishing will take care of the rest. Only the best can and will survive on any substrate. And that concept is as old as the hills. It has ever been thus.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.