How The Print Publishing Business Is Saving Itself

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I love the publishing business. I started my career as a Journalist and quickly became the Publisher of three magazines. To this day, I love walking into magazine stores. The sad reality is that there is simply less and less for me to buy. Grabbing a copy of Fast Company and Wired Magazine is pretty much the full monty. I’m often asked to discuss how Digital Marketing and more traditional channels can integrate and work together – this too is a favourite topic for me.

I was doing some research for an upcoming presentation, and I saw this news item from The Center For Media ResearchTwo-Of-Five Web Users Viewed Newspaper Sites At Year End. How is it possible that the publishing industry continues to post bad news about revenues, profits and growth and then this comes out?

How can the Publishing business survive?

It’s simple.

Print publications need to embrace the new reality that they have become Multimedia Publications. The big wins are not going to happen by putting their print materials online. The big wins are going to happen when stories are extended leveraging the true power of the online channel – that would be by adding more images, video, audio and interaction into the fray. And, if they’re smart, extending the ability to create content as well.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at how the Fast Company website has adapted over the short little while. Just recently, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel announced that they will be working on Fast Company TV and the main website features tons of action from online social networking opportunities to Blogs and more. Fast Company is leveraging the print side to engage and enhance when you visit them online.

The strategy’s not just working for cool and hip publications, but getting back to The Center For Media Research, even newspapers are making it work (and getting the results to prove it). Here are some of the facts:

"- Heading into the holiday season, newspaper websites experienced a record in October 2007. More than 63.2 million people visited newspaper websites that month, more than any month on record – and an 8% increase from the same period a year ago.

– For the year’s fourth quarter, 39% of all active Web users visited newspaper websites, with visits averaging 44 minutes a month.

– In the fourth quarter, users generated more than three billion page impressions on average, a 7.3% increase over the same period a year ago."

While that may not prove that Newspapers are the single-most trusted news source online, it’s an impressive laundry list of statistics and, if the print publishing industry can really hone into what the magic formula is to gain traffic and loyalty online while maintaining (or, hopefully, increasing) the adoption of print, the reports of their demise may be greatly exaggerated.


  1. I love this post. Unless I’m reading it differently than was intended, what you’re getting at is how the web is not the end all be all, but unless “traditional” media embraces the web than said media will die.
    This reminds me of something I brought up in a discussion I had with the marketing students at Laurentian University. We were talking about ways traditional advertising could be brought back to life, and what role the web played in that. We talked about that whole Doritas Crashes the Superbowl thing. From what I understand, Doritos used traditional advertising to promote a contest. The contest was online and people submitted their home brewed Doritos commercials. People voted on it. The winning commercial got the honor of running during the Superbowl. In other words, traditional media promoted new media, which in turn fed traditional media. That symbiotic relationship just amazes me.
    What you’re saying here is print publications can use new media to enrich and expand the experience of print. Which makes total sense, but I still find the whole notion rather mind blowing and exciting.

  2. Great post, publishing over the web, RSS, pod cast, mobile, blog, social media is in booming stage and all the major publishers already using the above mediums. Some of the publishers using the services like for above services and getting the benefits.

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