I just returned from the FOLIO: Growth Summit in Chicago. We conducted the event in a media-industry maelstromâ€”events all around us are being cancelled, downsized and postponed. You canâ€™t overstate how hard hit the media industry is right now.As I walked through the sessions and receptions, both old friends and new ones told meâ€”one after the nextâ€”how theyâ€™ve had to lay off staff, how theyâ€™ve frozen salaries, how theyâ€™ve implemented unpaid time off, how theyâ€™ve got 2009 issues tracking at 50 percent of last year. But the publishing executives More...
In this post ("Is Hollywood's Love Affair with Journalism Over?") I posed this question: Will young people gravitate to a business defined by bankruptcy and decline?I was talking about magazines and newspapers, although, one could argue, it could've been the media industry in general.Late last week I asked several of the leading voices I know in this area what they thought. Here are their responses:Samir â€śMr. Magazineâ€ť HusniJ-School chair, University of MississippiWe have become a very bloated industry. Now it is time to pay the piper. That b More...
Will young people gravitate to a business defined by bankruptcy, declineâ€”and, likely, fewer films about it?Movies
over time have usually depicted the magazine and newspaper industries
with a touch of glamour, power or idealism. For some recent examples,
think â€śIn Good Company,â€ť â€ś13 Going on 30â€ť and â€śThe Devil Wears Prada.â€ť
Then thereâ€™s the greatest movie of all time, â€śCitizen Kane,â€ť and the
movie that launched 10,000 careers, â€śAll the Presidentâ€™s Men.â€ťYes,
thereâ€™s the occasional â€śAbsence of Malice,â€ť about journalistic abuse of
power, or â€śAmerican Beauty,â€ť where the troubled Kevin Spa More...
The news that the Magazine Publishers of America cancelled the American Magazine Conference, its signature event, and lost three high-profile members in the same week, got me wondering if other associationsâ€”specifically, American Business Mediaâ€”are feeling the same kind of pressure from their members.I asked several b-to-b CEOs, as well as ABM CEO Gordon Hughes, what theyâ€™re hearing. Are big-name b-to-b companies dropping out of ABM? What would happen if Penton Media or Nielsen Business Media or Reed withdrew? Or Advanstar? O More...
Over a three-year period from 2001 to 2003, b-to-b media lost about 35 percent of its revenue, according to the Business Information Network.
During that period, it was common around the industry for conference speakers and writers to describe it as the â€śworst media-industry downturn since the Great Depression.â€ť
After awhile, we all took that as a given, though no one I know ever went back and actually analyzed the extent of that downturn compared with earlier ones.
I also remember the 1991 downturn. That was tough, even for someone who was a junior editor at the time. There were the usual rounds of painful layoffs. I remember one day when at least six editors I worked with made the terrible walk to the corner o More...
In an era where every penny of incremental
revenue countsâ€”and the time to find itâ€”it surprises me that only 22 percent of respondents to a FOLIO:
survey last year said they use ad portals.
It's doubly surprising because often
printers provide portals to their customers, making the process almost
Ad portals automate the process of
shipping both editorial and advertising files to the printer. They rely on a
Web interface that tracks when a file is received by the printer, and they
allow magazine production staffs to approve pages after a review of the page
With virtual proofing becoming the normâ€”an More...
Fifteen years ago I bought the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA
Today every day. Now I just read them online. I subscribed to a slew of
magazines, like The New Yorker, Newsweek, American Heritage, National
Geographic. Now I read them and many others online.
Why not? It's free. And I'm just not one
of those people who needs to have the experience of a magazine or newspaper in
print. I like content, not form.
And because my behavior is like that of
tens of millions of other people, the media industry is in turmoil. You can't
overstate it: The newspaper industry's days are numbered. And many magazines
The deal climate is terrible. FOLIO: has tracked fewer than a dozen transactions in the last couple of months, and most of them were very small. Worse, of that small number of deals, at least three were distress salesâ€”that is, where the bank essentially takes over the business. No wonder the deal brokerages are looking to repurpose their expertise. Berkery Noyes and DeSilva + Phillips, two of the four major M&A firms serving this market (the Jordan, Edmiston Group and AdMedia Partners being the other two) have added restructuring practices recently. Both were frank. â€śTypically, a magazine publisher wants a third-party who is knowledgeable about the magazine industry to provide recommendations f More...
I read Simon Dumenco's
column yesterday (via Bob Sacks' newsletter). Simon writes for Ad Age and
used to write for FOLIO:. He's a valuable observer of the media scene.
The column is the best he's written.
He hit the nail on the head in so many ways:
on a blog post I wrote yesterday got me thinking about how people all over the
industry are struggling to understand the unprecedented environment of today,
which combines the fast-changing media structure combined with a remarkably difficult
revenue while trying to re-invent a business model is a difficult thing to do,
it's like changing the tires on a moving truck.
through the economic downturns of early 1990s and 2000s, and right now, this
one seems much worse.
Adding to the
Iâ€™m predicting that Hachette Filipacchi Media dropping its membership in the Magazine Publishers of America ("Hachette Drops Out of MPA") is just the tip of the iceberg. Publishers are feeling economic pain and, consequently, the associations, audit bureaus and others are as well. If this recession is long and as challenging as it is right now, there will be more high-profile dropouts.Think of it from a publishing companyâ€™s perspective: Your revenue is declining, youâ€™re laying people off, youâ€™re freezing salaries, youâ€™re not f More...
I read a good column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about Doubledown Media and its demise. Doubledown, in a very real sense, lived by the sword and ultimately died by it. It celebrated the kind of excess and greed that would have made Gordon Gekko [right] blush. It championed the bullying, any-means-necessary culture of Wall Street tradersâ€”the kind of culture that blinds people like ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain to the profound immorality of their act More...
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