Remember, like, 10 years ago, when they used to tell us that one day we’d all be reading newspapers on lightweight electronic tablets? And we were all like, “No way, man! Paper rules!” And then we laughed and went back to whacking off to low-res 30-sec porn preview clips on Netscape. Well, the electronic tablet of the future is here – which means we’re living in the future! Finally!
It’s called the Kindle, and it’s made by Amazon. You can read books on it aswell as newspapers. It’s a clunky looking piece of tech, but by all accounts it works a treat, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular way for Yanks to get their news. You can’t get it in Australia yet, but it can’t be long.
Could this be the kind of new media/old media-straddling device that saves publishing?
No one really knows what’s going to happen to the print publishing business in 2009. But that doesn’t stop people (like me) trying! One thing is for sure: if 2008 was when years of largely ignored change finally caught up to the industry, 2009 will be the year that really decides what kind of print product, if any, can survive.
Magazines have had a particularly shithouse 2008 and you’d expect casualties in ’09, possibly in the first quarter, as the full extent of the depressed ad market kicks in. Here’s a story in Media Life Magazine that gives some insight into what titles may, and may not, survive. This bit in particular seems to ring true: “The news categories are vulnerable. Any magazine or category that is essentially data-driven or news-driven, where the web can offer more current, more frequent access to information, is vulnerable.”
At the start of the week, the news was all good for PBL Media. The banking syndicate approved CVC’s rescue package, giving the company breathing room for the next year or so. Party time! But, by the end of the week, reality kicked in again, at least at ACP Magazines. The bean counters running the show are determined to cut costs in a retarded advertising market, which means bye-bye head count.
FHM, the struggling lads title, had even more meat stripped from its bare bones with its fashion editor given the shaft. Grazia‘s also been forced to lose staff, and there will be more to come at other titles. That’s on the back of the entire removal of ACP’s publicity department and rumours of 20% staff cuts in sales and marketing.
And just recently, all editors were summoned to a Park Street meeting where they were told to expect two years of tougher-than-usual trading conditions. Miserable times in Mag Land, indeed.
Still, it’s not all bad news. Ninemsn remains buoyant, further proof, if it was needed, that the future is indeed digital.
More musings about how news brands can turn a buck on the web. Specifically: what happens to all that ad money (well, such as it is in the current climate) as print dies? It’s all part of the caterpillar-like transformation publishing is undergoing right now. Here’s hoping a butterfly emerges. A pretty one!
Media release about the capital injection that has saved PBL Media’s bacon and looks to have, at least for the next 12 months or so, ensured the company’s survival. So, no more job cuts, right? Don’t count on it…