Why are the Big Boys coming to our side in the digital world of ePublishing?
October 19, 2012
Here we were – and are – a bunch of struggling writers battling time and tradition to dig a successful trench in the digital world of publishing.
And in New York, the big boys laughed at us.
In Washington, D. C., the big boys laughed at us.
We were trying to re-write the rules.
It was their rules.
Can’t be done, they said.
Won’t be done, they said.
And they kept on laughing at us.
The big boys aren’t laughing anymore.
There are still some snickers.
But the laughing is fading away.
Yesterday, on Thursday, October 18, 2012, Newsweek, one of the nation’s most influential news weekly magazines announced that it was closing down its print operation. After December 31, there will be no reason to drop by the newsstands and look for it anymore.
It will be gone.
Newsweek is going digital. It is even changing his name to Newsweek Global. The King is dead. Long live the King. Mark the date. It is indeed a historic date.
Newsweek is going after those wonderful souls who read on Kindle and Nook, on iPads and iPhones.
Newsweek has no reason to look down its nose at us anymore.
We were never able to join Newsweek’s world.
But with these changing times, Newsweek has decided to join ours.
We aren’t laughing at you. There is room in the digital world for all of us.
In reality, Newsweek has been on a downhill grade for a long time. Two years ago, the Financial Website 24/7 Wall Street listed Newsweek among his dying brands.
Newsweek was insulted.
The staff angrily wrote to 24/7 saying, “We will dance on your grave.”
The end came.
No one is dancing.
Newsweek’s circulation has fallen to 1.5 million subscribers. That sounds like a lot until you realize that it wasn’t long ago when the publication could boast three million subscribers.
Paper costs are up.
Readership is down.
Advertising revenue has been suffering for a long time.
It has been costing Newsweek $40 million a year just to pay for its weekly publication. And Frankly, Newsweek wasn’t making anywhere close to $40 million.
Time remains on top of the mountain.
The mountain is crumbling.
New chief executive Laura Lang is not a journalist. Printer’s ink does not flow through her veins. She came from Publicis Groupe that helped transform a direct mail company into a successful digital advertising firm.
She may say she cares about the tradition of Time.
She doesn’t really.
Laura Lang is already laying the groundwork for change, pointing out that the average smart phone owner today spends 1.4 hours a day, waiting in line.
And are they reading Time?
They are browsing their smart phones.
Time is already working hard to build a large and powerful digital audience.
It’s only a matter of time before the magazine takes its print copies off of newsstand shelves as well.
I listen hard.
But I don’t hear them laughing so hard at us anymore.
I’m glad they’re coming on our side of the fence. The growth of powerful eMagazines will give eBooks credibility and respectability that they’ve never experienced before.