Print Fighting Back at Distripress 2013, John Cruickshank Will Give the Keynote
"Print opportunities are not exhausted, far from it," John Cruickshank, President of the Star Group in Toronto, told me. "In fact, there is growing complementarity between what we can do in print and digital."
I had called him to get his thoughts on the theme of this year's Distripress Congress: Press Fighting Back. Publishers from all over the world will gather in Toronto next month for the annual convention for the world press. Cruickshank will lead the charge with a keynote speech on Forum Day.
At a time in which many publishers feel embattled or even defeated, the Star Group has found a continued vitality to print.
"We're finding all sorts of ways of building on the brand," Cruickshank elaborated. "Print as well as digital. New distribution models allow us to offer creative subscription packages with digital versions. From the other side, reverse publishing provides opportunities to purchase digital products and create more value by bringing versions of those products to print."
Cruickshank is convinced that print is neither dead nor moribund; and he intends to share some of his secrets with the group attending the Distripress Forum Day on October 7th in Toronto. The tools that the digital age has brought are a boon to publishers savvy enough to use them. Changes in distribution technology allow a publisher to offer creative packages, opt-in additions to print subscriptions. No longer locked into a single standardized approach to subscription fulfillment, publishers can think of print subscriptions the way cable operators think about cable subscriptions. They can offer a basic subscription and an array of add-ons whose limit is only defined by the publisher's creativity and the audience's needs.
"Think of it that way and you'll see opportunities to create whole new markets for print products," Cruickshank said.
The Star Group is discovering such products, to nurturing them and making them profitable. Cruickshank wants to enable other publishers to see the possibilities in a new world of print and digital.
The challenge is to create a system that enables publishers to build their cross-platform brands. "It is a matter of creativity and imagination. Using creative subscription models, we've had success putting new print products in the market, success with growing new audiences, and success with attracting new advertisers to the brand."
Some of the biggest challenges to the survival of print come from the publishing community itself. "I am struck by the level of negativity out there. It isn't healthy. It diminishes the energy people have. When we begin to lose hope it reduces our effectiveness.
"The print era is not over," Cruickshank said. "There are new print products available to us--to all of us."
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.