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From Manufacturing and Distribution to E-Media Delivery

Questions about the technology-influenced evolution of publishing operations.

Michael Esposito By Michael Esposito
04/19/2010 -07:30 AM

Mobile Apps, e-readers, augmented reality, print, Web and social networking. Media continues the trend toward fragmentation that began early last century, and emerging technologies promise the rapid delivery of personalized content to users where and when they want it.

The selection of available devices will surely become more sophisticated and diverse over time as will the expectations of users. What does that mean for media executives who are trying to build a new business model while attempting to figure out how to keep up with the consumers’ increasing demand for fresh content? How should we organize our companies so we can remain flexible, scalable and profitable? How useful is our past experiences in developing the next steps in our relationship with our readers and other customers?  Does company size matter in the same ways it used to?
If you are like me, you may have thought about similar questions recently. With a focus on operations, I spend a lot of time thinking about the conventional M&D (manufacturing & distribution) departments. Technology has greatly changed these departments over the past few years to the point where many practices today are completely different from those in place five years ago. That being said, many of these departments can trace their origins back to the height of the industrial age when high volume press runs fueled the national distribution of generalized content.

I often think about what will become of the process-oriented folks who operate within these teams. How will they continue to serve their firms as we navigate into a new business landscape where print advertising can no longer be expected to drive future growth? Perhaps, the conventional M&D departments will be reorganized and emerge as a new breed of Media Delivery specialists who are not tied to any specific medium but service all. If so, then these teams will likely be focused on developing innovative ways to introduce workflow automation to handle an unprecedented proliferation of content development. Internal automation mixed with the correct balance of external sourcing can enable the efficient delivery of monetizeable content across multiple media platforms.   
Looking for Answers

I have been conducting research on these very topics for my doctoral dissertation with a team at Pace University. Throughout this academic journey, we have reached out to many media experts in an effort to gain a better understanding of what may be occurring in our industry from an advertising, editorial and operations perspective.  

My specific interest has focused on the affects of emerging technologies on print consumer magazines. The scope of the research has been broad and it examines industry level change as it uniquely relates to variations in the types of content distributed, the organization of resources, and the success rates of new strategies based on the implementation timing.  
The project is coming to a close and before I gather my findings I would like to open up a survey to gather your opinion regarding the answers to some of these questions—it should take only a few minutes. All responses will be kept anonymous and no references to a specific company or individual will be shared.  

I expect to release the final results from this study on later this year.

Please click here to take the survey.

Michael Esposito By Michael Esposito -- As vice president of operations at Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Michael Esposito is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of the company’s U.S. publications as well as the operational cost control area and the pre-media division.

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