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Beyond the Horizon

MARCH 2018

Mad Marchers:

I’m sitting in a bar (no comment!) and pondering New York Times’ President Mark Thompson’s prediction that, “…print will be dead in 10 years!”

What do you think?

A couple of observations, then I’ll set the record straight!

  1. Everyone should recognize the NY Times as one of our national treasures!  Whether you always agree with their point-of-view or not, the amount and extraordinary quality of their content make it my go to resource when seeking national or international insights.
  2. As a long-time subscriber I’ve watched (and gladly helped pay for!) their metamorphosis to a subscriber supported (innumerable products in all sorts of niches) vs. an advertising driven model.  So far, so good - keep it up.  We need such voices.  THANK YOU!

So, is Mr. Thompson right?  As you can tell, I hold the NY Times in the highest regard, but in this case, I’d respectfully disagree; print will not be dead in 10 years…

IT ALREADY IS!

(At least, print, as we know it…)

Think about it – in the last decade:

  • Industry revenues have declined at a 7% average rate annually.
  • Employment is down, what 20,000?  30,000?  More?
  • To a great extent reductions in head count have been focused on our news and informational gathering resources and if we don’t watch out, we’ll completely compromise the very differentiator – LOCAL – that distinguishes us and offers our users any real value!

If this happens, it’ll be a dereliction of duty as great as the demise of analog film or Swiss watchmakers recognizing digital was coming yet being indifferent to that reality.

What is NOT dead is local media!  News”papers”-of-today reach a larger audience than ever which also happens to be growing.

Equally true and every bit as important>

  • In most cases newspapers are still profitable.  With the right leadership it's possible to e-x-t-e-n-d the print runway while diligently and aggressively growing digital subscriptions and experimenting with different revenue opportunities.
  • Small and Mid-sized advertisers in our communities need help.  They’re flummoxed by the latest shiny digital offering AND the ever growing threats from the likes of Amazon.
  • We are almost universally perceived as the trusted local medium – both from content and advertising standpoint.
  • Our business penetration is abysmally low.  Therefore the upside is gargantuan!  A HUGE percentage of our resources should be devoted to prospecting and creating self-service advertising interface.
  • There’s STILL time!

Good luck ~ let me know how you are faring!  I’ll incorporate your feedback along with some remedies to consider next month.

 
 
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