Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

08/05/2013

Amazon’s Bezos’ New Mission? Perhaps to Prove Print Isn’t a Dinosaur Headed for Extinction


Bezos interested in much more than just Amazon!

Most have heard by now that Amazon Head Honcho, Jeff Bezos, has bought The Washington Post newspaper for a cool $250 million smackaroos 🙂

I suspect that Mr. Bezos might have a nostalgic soft spot, as do I, for the dynamic, constant deadline publishing style of newspaper journalism; but, his interest in a print newspaper probably goes to a higher motive than just nostalgia.

He does want to become a big media player as evidenced by his current involvement in streaming movies available to its Prime members in an ongoing competition with Netflix — and Bezos’ Kindle has been delivering videos, music, news and books; a media-consuming tablet put in-place to push device sales.

BUT, can he save a print industry plagued by declining print advertising sales? OR is he going to redefine that revenue source with something entirely different (imagination needed here)? Remains to be seen.

Don’t forget, though, that Bezos is somewhat of an advertising guru himself — just look at the money he attracts with Amazon (which is detailed and tracked more by eMarketer in tonight’s feature news article drawn from USA Today).

He is also interested and has ambitions in many things outside of Amazon, retailing and books. Bezos is still heavily involved in his 2000 startup, Blue Origin, which intends to provide a human spaceflight company for space exploration — with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for several million people orbiting the Earth.

High ambitions, indeed!

From Scott Martin, USA TODAY:

Amazon’s Bezos: Retail revolutionary, news tycoon?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has done a number on brick-and-mortar retailers, defied Wall Street for years in eschewing profits for growth, taken on Apple in tablets and now holds a new title: newspaper owner.

Amazon’s CEO agreed to acquire The Washington Post for $250 million today.

The 49-year-old Bezos — who is famous for a honking laugh and gregarious nature — is No. 19 on Forbes‘ list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Bezos started Seattle-based Amazon in 1994 as a bookseller and rapidly expanded its categories and has swallowed many more.

Bezos is not the first billionaire to become a major media player. AOL founder Steve Case merged AOL with Time Warner. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes picked upThe New Republic. And IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller bought Newsweek, which ceased printing last year. Given how troubling advertising has been to publishers, Bezos has his work cut out.

“The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs,” Bezos said in a letter to Washington Post staffers.

Bezos has already displayed a proclivity for endeavors far outside of the confines of e-commerce.

One of his interests is space exploration. He captured the public’s fascination with his startup Blue Origin, a “human spaceflight company,” with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million to 3 million people orbiting the Earth.

Read complete USA Today article here

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02/28/2011

Printed Magazines: Young Adult Readership Up & 90% Prefer Ink Format!


Pundits predicting the extinction of printed mags are wrong! In fact, printed mag readership (especially among the under 35 group with digital exposure) has steadily risen over the past 5 years, even through the recession…as reported by David McDonald (bio at ‘Read and learn more’ link below) in FOLIO magazine.

Now, I don’t know if the ad revenue has matched the same performance of the ‘readership’ stats (from what I’ve read, it hasn’t)…but, if the ad revenue is indeed down, this non-expert wonders why? It would not be logical on the surface. If the advertisers are just pulling the ad money from print to concentrate on the new digital formats, it would appear they are missing a growing opportunity, huh?    

On to David McDonald’s article:

Teach Your Children Well

Is the training of tomorrow’s magazine and media professionals keeping up?

While many media pundits purport that magazine readership is dropping or that printed magazines are soon to be extinct, the truth emerges that year after year magazine readership continues to grow. In fact, magazine readership has increased for the past five years—right through the recession—according to MPA, which found that four out of five U.S. adults read magazines. Another 2010 survey from MRI discovered that young adults (those under 35) read the most, despite the abundance of new media alternatives. A recent CMO Council survey of 1,000 consumers with digital exposure indicated that 90 percent of magazine subscribers prefer the printed format to the new e-reader apps.

Consumers continue to engage magazines in the printed form, but they are also looking beyond print and accessing magazine content in very personal ways—Web sites, e-media, mobile and rich media, and various other content platforms are increasingly more relevant to today’s magazine and media consumer. This emerging diversity in how we encounter magazine content speaks to the complexity of how consumers engage the content they want—on their terms, in many formats and across multiple platforms—and again, only the content they want. So we better serve it up the way they want it, right?

Educating the Next Generation

Today’s magazine and media companies—as well as the staff of journalists and designers who package content for consumers—are working within a new world order. The rules of journalism are changing and Media Ethics are not immune from this evolution. Ethics, while important, are often irrelevant to a media transaction. Many publishers believe that those who drive the formation of ethical opinion will continue to refine their perspective within the larger media landscape and come to terms with the ideals of branded and custom content and the demands of what I call Transcendent Media platforms.

Do ethics, as we know them today, have a place in media? Yes, in some instances… but not all. The ideals of church and state that have for so long driven the philosophies, perspectives, and opinions of media must and will change to embrace the new world order of Transcendent Media. And this is an important fact to the universities teaching tomorrow’s magazine professionals.

Read and learn more

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11/04/2010

Publishing is Drowning in Ads!


Ads, ads, ads and more ads! We get bombarded with them everywhere! Not only in digital publishing, but in print, too. They are all over the place on the internet (hell, even on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary when you look up a word!) AND even on the covers of print magazines in the form of corner page-peels, belly bands, ad “windows” of varying sizes and false, glued-on covers and gatefolds#@*%?!

Now, I can understand a reasonable amount of ads to make up lost revenue due to faltering subscriptions, etc…BUT, damn, have a little consideration for the consumer.

My advice to advertisers: Don’t overplay your hand! Consumers are overwhelmed with legit data as it is, but the more ads they have to wade through just dilutes not only their effectiveness but the legit site content they are placed on gets a bad rap as well.

A good example of this conundrum is illustrated in this article by Jason Fell in FOLIO magazine:

Does This Cover Push the Ad/Edit Line Too Far?

I’ve seen my share of advertisements on magazine covers over the last couple years. I’ve seen corner page-peels, belly bands and ad “windows” of varying sizes. I’ve also seen false, glued-on covers and gatefolds.

Something like this, however, I haven’t seen.

The cover of the October 7 issue of Canon Communications’ EDN magazine [pictured top, left] features the EDN nameplate as it usually would, but the remaining two-thirds—which normally is devoted to editorial—is all advertising. The space is shared by an ad from a company called Avago Technologies and a corner page-peel ad from Digi-Key Corp (which also has a full-page ad inside the magazine).

Read and enjoy more

11/21/2009

Magazines No Longer the ‘Center of the Universe’


Print advertising profits are declining due to all the new upstarts in digital media. Publishers are having to re-think their place in the media food chain and design new business models to move forward and survive.

More on this topic by Jason Fell in November issue of Folio magazine:

Publisher Survival, especially for those supported mainly by print advertising, was the topic of debate, and some contention, during a Folio: Show Virtual panel discussion last month called “Big Ideas and New Opportunities for 2010 and Beyond.”

“The magazine business, particularly if you’re dominated by print advertising, is going to continue to be no-growth to a declining business—probably forever,” said panelist David Nussbaum, CEO of enthusiast magazine and book publisher F+W Media. Other panelists included Mann Media CEO Bernie Mann; Eric Biener, Nielsen Business Media’s vice president of business development; and Daniel McCarthy, chairman and CEO of Network Communications, Inc.

While some print magazines will survive, publishers “can’t bank on them being the driver” of their business, Nussbaum argued. At F+W, magazine publishing depends largely on subscription and newsstand revenues. “Advertising, which we love and we want, will be gravy on top of that,” he said.

Mann, who publishes North Carolina’s Our State, countered that losses in print don’t pertain to the entire industry. “Trust is very important and is hard to find. How many people trust television today? How many people trust their daily newspapers,” he said. “If you can build trust in magazines, you have some long, long legs.”

Growing Competition

With bloggers and other online publishers are continuing to pop up and take market share, traditional magazine publishers in the future won’t hold sole ownership of the markets they serve, the panelists largely agreed. Publishers now should focus more on core products, the panelists said, and on being “active participants” in the markets they serve.

“I don’t think we’re ever going back to the day when we were the center of the universe. We have to recognize that,” Nussbaum said. “We now are part of the overall community. If we can grasp that role then we can begin to get back to levels of profitability.”

The Paid Content Debate

And, of course, what’s a panel discussion today without talk about charging for content online? “Allowing people to parse out the pieces of content they find valuable, and to make nickels on those pieces on an economy of scale is one of the future models we are looking at for our businesses,” Biener said. “I think micropayments are going to play successfully in the future of media business, specifically content.”

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