GOTHAMEDIA panel discussion: Is print dead?

7 Nov

I’ve been blogging a lot lately, but I was a journalist first! I’ve written for several newspapers in NY and my college state, Delaware. So I really enjoyed hearing some big personalities from the industry battle this one out. Of course, I think both print and digital are valuable to readers – I read hard copies of magazines and books and I also find news on the Internet. But the bigger question is whether they are valuable from an economic standpoint.

Is print dead? A group of experienced media professionals tried to answer this question at a Gotham Media event at the Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz PC law office last week. They agree print advertising revenue is declining, but the industry is still alive. The more contentious point was how to sustain the traditional magazine and newspaper industries.

It’s difficult to get a good sense of the pulse of these businesses. The magazine industry is at a 1.5 billion gross audience as of September 2014, up from 1.3 billion last year, according to the Association of Magazine Media. Martin Nisenholtz, founder of New York Times Digital, said their audience has expanded internationally.

The rise in numbers results from a larger digital audience. Mobile web use has risen 90% and more users are watching video and reading magazine digital editions.

With the movement toward digital, companies are trying to figure out the economics of their industry. According to Jonathan Knee, Senior Advisor at Evercore Partners and Co-Director at Columbia University School of Business’ Media Program, newspapers have 20% margins, which is good, but not as good as the glory days of 40% margins. It’s no longer enough to completely satisfy Wall Street.

Many longtime companies think the solution is to split up print and digital. Publicly traded companies Tribune Co., EW Scripps, Gannett and Journal Communications all had some type of division in the past few months.

Read the rest at Office Lease Center’s blog: http://bit.ly/1EbBwqK

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