Magazine circulation is in a time of change and practitioners need to focus on the future, particularly the new world of digital distribution, Bob Sacks, president of Precision Media Group, told attendees at the Circ Day LA conference in Los Angeles today. “They need to read and learn about the new direction of digital distribution,” Sacks said. “They need to be the phoenix and not the dinosaur.”
What’s going on in media, Sacks said, is actually positive: Circulation, in terms of the distribution of content, is increasing dramatically. It’s only print that is in decline. So the publishing franchise of the future needs to be in getting information out, not getting it out in print.
“One of the things we all need too confront is what I call DBIA,” Sacks said. “DBIA is disbelief in accountability. We as an industry have to come to grips with that. There are parallel universes–print and digital;and that’s how we have too think about it.” In fact, Sacks said, the industry overall is gearing up well for digital distribution. “But I’m not sure that the individual members are gearing up as well,” he added.
For circulators, the challenge is acute. “Everyone’s job definition is going to be radically different in five years,” Sacks said. “I don’t think in 10 years circulators will be focused on direct-mail campaigns. In the future we will be getting our readership in new and different ways.”
What’s more, Sacks said, the whole existing circulation process is either antique or completely broken. “Can you name me an industry that manufactures 10 products and throws away seven?” he asked. “Who else has the audacity? Print 10 and sell nine! I don’t think that can’t be done. I