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Industry Insight

Conde Nast Editors Not 'Overreacting' to Web

There is a very interesting article from AdAge.

By Bob Sacks
Published: December 5, 2008

There is a very interesting article from AdAge.com today about the Conde Nast editors not 'Overreacting' to the Web. The article is penned by the redoubtable Nat Ives.

Full Steam Ahead

It’s always interesting to read a seasoned editor’s take on progress and the current technologic dilemmas confronting us all, which sometimes seems something like the captain of the Titanic; Iceberg? Did someone say, Iceberg? There will be no Icebergs on my watch! I absolutely forbid it!

Well, Nat had a very interesting summation that I thought I would pass along.

Mr. Remnick, editor in chief at The New Yorker. "protested. "We're not sanguine," he said. He attends meetings on the subject all the time, he said. Radio didn't banish newspapers, either, and television didn't eradicate radio. "Magazines that mean something, that have carved out a space in the culture, will persist," Mr. Remnick said.

Here is Nat’s reply:

No one acknowledged, however, the huge loss of stature and relevance that each medium suffered as new media encroached on its essential turf: people's time. Yes, TV didn't kill radio, but it did replace it as a primary source of entertainment and news, and force it to change formats and experiment with new ways to stay relevant. Radio hasn't gone away, but it doesn't hold the place in American culture that it did in the days of FDR's fireside chats. Broadcast networks' nightly news shows once loomed large over the national conversation; now people find it increasingly hard to watch.

Nat hit the nail on the head. Radio didn’t go away, TV didn’t go away and neither will print. The only relevant question that remains is where in the future will the predominate readers be, and how can we monetize that group with our various operations and franchises?  Staying on course and ignoring the iceberg ahead is a very bad idea.



By Bob Raus on Dec 08, 2008

Another key aspect of this conversation that needs to be addressed is the rate of aging and how this affect the volume of print. The "graying" of populations worldwide is a significant factor when considering the future of print.

According to PIRA, 10% of the populations worldwide is 60+ years old in 2007. That is projected to increase to 22% by 2050. Affluent grey consumers are key targets for advertising, promotional spend, packaged products, and direct marketing. Also, these consumers prefer printed materials over the Internet.

So, while electronic-publishing and the Internet are growing, and the overall percentage of print is declining, the aging population will drive steady or slightly increasing demand for actual page volume printed for the foreseeable future worldwide.


By Michael Josefowicz on Dec 08, 2008

Nice point, Bob.

Just wanted to add that the successful publishers are going to be those that figure out what exactly is the right format with the right content for a particular group of people.

The days of a rising tide lifting all boats, not matter what the underlying demographics are probably history. You have to believe fashion magazines will do ok. News magazines? not so much.

The really interesting part will be to watch which magazines/newspapers find the new formats and the new ways to re aggregate content to deliver to presently under served markets.


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