Courtesy of BoSacks & The Precision Media Group  
America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993
BoSacks Speaks Out:
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "There are no facts, only interpretations." That comes mighty close to our understanding of the magazine industry today, at least when it comes to the various reports we constantly read on the subject.
Too often some industry prognosticators confuse what is happening to "the big guys" to be representative of the entire publishing industry. It is not. There is a complete disconnect between mid and modest titles and the Hearst's, Conde's, and New York Times of this world. What Conde does is irrelevant to any other publishing house large or small. It is a fiefdom with its own set of rules, agendas, and methodologies. Whatever game plan Hearst or any other large publishing house has is nothing like yours or your competitors. It a brave new world out there, and it is adapt or die time.
Let me start with this statement by Mark Thompson, chief executive officer of The  New York Times, "At least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products. There may come a point when the economics of [the print paper] no longer make sense for us." That is fine for his perspective, but it has nothing to do with the magazine business. We are all aware that no printed newspaper can possibly contain actual news that wasn't available globally 12 hours before publication. It is one of the distinctions that keep newspapers and magazines worlds apart.

There is a place, and revenue producing value for accurate, considered and deliberate magazine media. Real life is actually slow; it takes professionals time to figure out what happened, and how it fits into context. That's the added value that professional publishers bring: Figuring out what happened and giving it meaningful context.

There once was a time when there were rules and an established pecking order. If you were in TV, Radio or Print, you knew the process and the possibilities of your profession. Each method of communication had pluses and minuses, boundaries and well-trodden logical pathways to reach the consumer and make a profit in the process. One might also say, there once was relative business stability.

What makes the current state of affairs so different is the evaporation of boundaries, rules and stability. There is little distinction between modern multimedia magazine publishing, TV and radio because they are all streamed. It's up to you to create a uniqueness that separates you from the crowd.

It might seem Inconceivable to some pundits, but many print magazines have strength, durability, and permanence. In fact many magazines, now called magazine media, are quite lucrative. As I have said before, the print survivors will be considered luxury items and not inexpensive commodities. So, to you I ask, is your magazine a commodity or a luxury?

The print footprint is indeed getting smaller but not evaporating. Smart publishers will make their products full of perceived value to the paying reader. The only way going forward is to make today, right now, the next golden age of publishing. All you have to do is compete with your rivals smartly and in totality - across all markets, and all platforms. This is not only possible; many are already doing it.

  Live or die but don't poison everything.
Saul Bellow

Dateline: Charlottesville, Va
In This Issue
Are the 2020s When Print Media Will End?
Some major publishing executives are already counting down the number of years print as a medium has left.
By  Kali Hays
If you look through enough comments by several media executives in recent years, most foresee a time when the period of printed media comes to an end.

Although print products, subscriptions and even ever-dwindling newsstand sales typically make more money for publishers than digital, they also cost a lot more to produce. While publishers are still set on squeezing what money they can out of the shrinking number of people who prefer a print product over a screen, mainly by regularly increasing the price of magazines and newspapers, more than ever before publishing executives are willing to admit that print may not be a part of the business forever.

"At least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products," said Mark Thompson, chief executive officer of The  New York Times. "There may come a point when the economics of [the print paper] no longer make sense for us."

Thompson said that on CNBC about 18 months ago. This despite digital subscriptions to The Times being bigger than ever at around 3.5 million and the company having ambitions of paid digital readers reaching 10 million, a number that could likely float a continued print business, if that's what the Times wanted.

Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, also thinks printed news has an expiration date. He told his own paper earlier this year that they could "discard the lingering notion that paper will remain for long a big part of what we do. It will not." 

Baron didn't put a specific time frame on it, saying instead print will continue "for a while, yes" but pointedly adding, "It will not last."

So, America's two largest and most successful newspapers seem to be firmly in the corner of print becoming a question in a "Jeopardy!" category about the early 21st century. What about the tech guys, like  Google? The company makes heavy use of newspaper and magazine content for its core search engine and has lately been investing in news-related projects.

Richard Gingras, a veteran news and media executive who is now vice president of news at  Google, also doesn't see print sticking around too much longer.

"Clearly, it's going to peter out," he said a year ago. "Five years, 10 years, I don't know. If you simply look at younger generations, it's completely irrelevant - our heads are in [our smartphones] all day. So what's the value of a print vehicle?"

That makes two huge sectors of media in the "end of print" camp. One relative holdout, unsurprisingly, is magazines. Executives from both Condé Nast and  Hearst Magazines see their titles, at least some of them, continuing on.

Although Hearst is taking a hard turn into digital, with new executives and a restructuring of the magazines' sales business, chief content officer  Kate Lewis said she's planning for magazines to exist 20 years from now, claiming subscribers are still "strong."

"Magazines can fill that [role] of a gift that you're giving yourself," Lewis said. "In some cases, they're both an indulgence and a's a combination of those things and I think there's an appetite still. I really do."

Roger Lynch, just a few months into his  role as ceo of Condé, still sees a future for print, too, albeit likely on an even smaller scale than it is now.

At Recode's annual fall media conference, Lynch admitted that other of Condé's 10 remaining print magazines "may make that transition [to digital-only] at some point." He characterized Self - out of print since 2017 after almost 40 years - as a success story in this regard, saying the business has turned around. He didn't have the same praise for Glamour, which closed regular print in 2018.
Lynch did single out Condé's now-core titles of Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Wired, GQ and Architectural Digest as ones he "can't imagine" not being in print.

Nevertheless, a handful of magazines don't make a robust  print media economy. The new era of the Twenties is likely the decade that printed magazines and newspapers take their place firmly in the past.

Study: 50% Of Publishers Double Down On Subscriptions In 2020

A new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found 50% of publishers continue to bet strongly on reader revenue. Half of the study's respondents said it will be their main revenue stream going forward.

The annual " Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2020" report is based on a survey of over 230 CEOs, managing directors, editors and heads of digital from 32 different countries.

Around one-third (35%) of publishers surveyed think both advertising and reader revenue will be equally important going forward.
One in seven (14%) thinks advertising alone will be the most important stream of revenue.

Almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) say they feel confident or very confident about their company's prospects in 2020.
However, less than half of respondents (46%) felt confident in journalism's prospects in 2020.

Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, wrote in the summary of the report: "The next decade will be defined by increasing regulation of the internet and attempts to re-establish trust in journalism and a closer connection with audiences. It will also be rocked by the next wave of technological disruption from AI-driven automation, big data, and new visual and voice-based interfaces."

He continued: "All this against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty which will throw up further challenges to the sustainability of many news organizations."

Collecting first-party data will become a key focus for publishers this year, according to the report. More websites will require readers to register in order to access content.

This is in response to "reduced cookie support from leading browsers and tightening privacy regulations" in Europe and the United States, Newman wrote.

Over half of publisher respondents said podcast initiatives would be important to them in 2020.

The study also suggests news organizations will use AI to personalize front pages and "pursue other forms of automated recommendation this year." A majority of the report's respondents (52%) say these AI-driven initiatives will be very important this year, to target potential subscribers and optimize paywalls (47%).

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"The Industry that Vents Together Stays Together"  
Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged 
and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"  
All news items and the various opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the opinion of, nor in agreement with the opinions of BoSacks. They are just interesting thoughts and other opinions that BoSacks thinks you should know about.  
After all, as the Japanese proverb goes: 
"If you believe everything you read, perhaps you better not read." 

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence:   
Courtesy of  The Precision Media Group.   
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants 
193 Brookwood Drive, Charlottesville VA 22902
Contact - Robert M. Sacks  917-566-7437
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