We’ve been debating this at RamsayMedia quite a bit recently and I really do believe print is not dead. However, many print publishing dinosaurs may well be. How can that be? Firstly, it is becoming more and more obvious that traditional print publishing models are under severe threat – and that is largely because for most publishers the profits from publishing are directly reliant on advertising. And therein lies the problem.
No matter where you look, traditional print businesses are rethinking the way they do things because they have allowed the middle-men, in this case the advertising industry, to dominate the relationship between their clients and themselves. Imagine if you will that your local supermarket didn’t actually make money from you purchasing stuff but from some third party that wanted to full half of the product you purchased with stuff you actually didn’t want. So I purchase my favourite yummy chocolate cereal but find when I get home someone has actually stuffed the box with health bars. Am I pissed you betcha!
The problem is now that this has happened we’ve all become advertising addicts. Publishers only know one thing – how to say yes to advertising and clients are not prepared to pay the real costs of what they are buying. They perceive they do but they don’t. Its a lose-lose scenario unfortunately.
Enter the web – the land of the free. The land of absolutely no barriers to entry. The land of good and evil. The land which has forced the media to examine its principles for ages. You’ll notice that book publishers are not sweating at all – they have seamlessly moved their operations to digital but at their core the model remains sound. You buy want you want – and I give you what you buy. Kinda has a nice ring to it. As for the rest of us … we’re scrabbling around for new business models that work. And inevitably that has to be in cleaning up our relationships with our clients. Otherwise they are simply going to find their content elsewhere and clean it up all themselves. As for advertisers – well working with advertisers is a little like dating a supermodel, she’s with you while she’s with you that is until the next exciting guy arrives in town.