Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Life, Time, Mags and Content

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Life, Time, Mags and Content

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo AOL Time Warner (I remember when the company was referred to as "Time-Life") continues to come to the party late, and unprepared. Do they really expect us to be excited that "LIFE is continuing with plans to put its entire collection of 10 million images online..." Unless memory fails me, I thought that project was the innovation of the 1990's, and was completed years ago. Can it be they're only "continuing with plans" at this late stage? What a story! EXTRA! News Flash! LIFE magazine planning on putting still B&W photographs on line! In the world of Google and YouTube Video on line, I can't imagine anything quite so irrelevant. Also, hasn't another company (Corbis?) already finished that project? Why does every announcement from AOL Time Warner seem to end up on the wrong end of the common sense yardstick? My prediction: Time's Wednesday closing schedule has torpedoed THAT business, too. Ann Moore and her management team should fold their tents and go home.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Mfg and Dst)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
funny that she thought the newspaper market had huge upside potential in 2004.
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Bob: This is the Deja'Vu version of Life's expiration. In 1972, I was the printer's Job Operator (they call 'em CSR's now) assigned to LIFE's eastern editions at a Connecticut. printing plant. Ann Moore's announcement is as sad today as it was nearly 35 years ago. Some years later, a good friend was TIME INC's Operator for the Rotogravure editions of LIFE, and it subsequently closed. Then, there were Sunday Supplement versions of LIFE, but I wasn't tracking it as carefully any more.

To me, LIFE was always a class act. They revered quality, timeliness, and accuracy, and went to great lengths to achieve those goals. The organization, and some of it's staff set standards of integrity and performance for the rest of my career in this business.
(Submitted by a Retired CSR)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Re-launching LIFE as a newspaper supplement was like bringing back Plymouth and packaging it inside a Packard.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Too bad, really too bad, an end of an era, but with 10,000 images online, there is Life after death.
(Submitted by an unknown)

RE: Reading
Bob, OMG! You cited, recently, a generation void of reading novels, poetry, etc., and now we have the same generation – supposedly literate – discounting the value of the fourth estate. Solid journalism has toppled dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, and kept absolute power from being absolute.
Governments go to great lengths to squash freedom of expression, and newspapers have always been at the forefront of this effort. The cost of ignorance – if we aren’t willing to pay for news – is far steeper than the cost of good journalism. Bloggers have no responsibility for accuracy or balance. Moran (are you sure of the spelling on this one?) is clueless, and need a journalism 101 class.
(Submitted by a Printer and Publisher)

RE: Time Makeover Gambles on New Print-Web Focus
"General Motors, which has cut back on spending in newsweeklies in recent years...is watching to see what the new look will have on Time's circulation, if any" Two old companies, well past their prime and living in the equivalent of a publishing assisted living facility, are thinking about having a date. GM should concentrate on figuring out how to build cars that people actual want to buy, and forget about studying Time's circulation.
(Submitted by a Production Director)

Re: Despite Online Competition, Magazines Still a Good Investment
When Readers Digest took over Reiman Publishing, one of the first things they did was drop the quality and weight of the paper. Just can't figure out why their subscribers started dropping. One thing you cannot afford to do with a 64 page plus cover magazine is to do what they did.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Many Americans see little point to Web:
W.W. Grainger learned this lesson in the late 90's when they were sold by some chipheads that they could discontinue their catalog in lieu of going to the web. Found out in short order that 33% of their most profitable customers did not own a computer. Whoops. Nothing has changed.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

RE: Is Content No Longer Worth Paying For?
I agree. A global study of Internet users by USC's Annenberg School for Communication showed recently that online users are finally willing to pay for digital content. If newspapers and magazines can continue to churn out relevant, timely and engaging content, some of them will be able to charge for it. Those that won't will have to rely on huge traffic -- and the subsequent ad revenue -- to foot the bill.
Submitted by an Editor)

RE: Despite Online Competition, Magazines Still a Good Investment
Once again: REALLY easy formula . . . give the reader a product that he/she wants, and the rest happens.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: Google Tests an Ad Idea: Pay Only for Results
Bob: Talk about paradigm busting! This will leave the ad agency traditionalists shaking in their boots. Just imagine the opportunities! We don't need an ad sales force anymore. The artists, designers, and other creative people can modify, customize, and update the ad content instantaneously, and work from home, too! Ads can be "real time", and changed with a mouse click. Since we can directly target actual prospects with customized messages, selective binding will go the way of the buggie whip. Theres no need for marketing surveys, since we'll have a data base with actual names and addresses of customers who bought the product. And email possibilities! I recently switched to Gmail (AOL is SOOOO 20th Century!)

My Gmail's now have unintrusive ads that are driven by content of the email I've sent, rather than hideous exploding engines from that Ford Truck ad which ran for a (mercifully) short time on AOL last week. The list goes on forever. Now, how can we get Google to run the whole country?
(Submitted by a Senior Production Director)

Re; Celebrity Mags
Bob: There were several responses that made me vibrate, but the clearest one was #4, from the Paper Guy. I also believe there is a linkage between Folks' affinity for this drivel and the rates at which people read any more. Distractions abound, as always, but It is up to any of us to keep some focus, otherwise there's not much time to read any good stuff. Then, there are priorities; just what is good stuff? Is it the current issues of OK!, People, and US? TIME's redesign was telling, with more pictures and fewer words. About 3-4 months ago, a reader wrote to Car and Driver with a similar request, which was printed, with concurrence. That was my last subscribed issue of C/D. Keep up your outstanding work.
(Submitted by a CSR)

RE: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Celebrity Titles
Bob: There are some interesting responses here. I am seldom amazed at the breadth of opinions held by your readers, especially those that “speak out” in response to the articles you share with us. One claim below – “less than 70% of 9th graders graduate from high school” – strikes me as totally alarmist and 100% distortion of fact. In my experience, it simply does not ring true. Another comment puts blame for the decline in reading on the government run education system.

When are parents going to step up and accept the fact that their children’s education is their responsibility? I’ve raised two kids, both are bright, both read, both have found a reasonable balance between education, work, sports, pursuit of fun, time with friends and time for themselves. They went to public schools. Their mom and I refused to sign them up for two, three, four or more after school activities at once and subrogate our lives so that they could experience “everything”. They were encouraged to make choices and taught that every choice has consequences. We are involved in their lives, but, continue give them room to grow – including room to make mistakes. We have not blamed government, industry, teachers, their friends, their friends’ parents etc. when they made choices that we didn’t agree with. I find celebrity titles to be a waste of my time, my wife gets enjoyment from them – does that make her a dummy? – I think not. For the vast majority of us that work 50, 60, 70 or more hours a week, it is a choice – we need to pay for our big houses, fancy cars, fancy toys, cable TV, private schools, keeping up with the “Joneses” or whatever. We’ve made choices and they have consequences. We could simplify our lives, take on less debt and spend time actively involved in the education of our children, or we can continue down the path that we’ve chosen. We, as “intelligent” human beings, are responsible for the path American society is traveling and if we don’t like it, we have to make changes in our behaviors. Blaming “everybody else” is simply not going to affect a change . . .
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: USPS Board Clears Several Rate Hikes
Sorry, but I have zero sympathy. At my house we receive two or three catalogs a day; we receive catalogs addressed to people who have not lived here for years. We never order anything from any of them; they cost money to print and the printing must add to pressures on the environment, from burning energy to landfill; why the hell should this be effectively subsidized by the rest of us? Let the minds of the direct mailers be concentrated by something approaching the true cost of what they are doing.
(Submitted by a Writer)

Re: (Your) Folio Show
I wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for taking time to speak at the Folio show - I really enjoyed your presentation and felt it was at the essence of what we need from these sort of shows.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

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