Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Second Half Magazine and Media Industry Predictions

Second Half Magazine and Media Industry Predictions
'Us will go to them. Radar will blink. OK! might not be.'Posted by Dylan Stableford

Layoffs. Lawsuits. Shutterings. Salary freezes. Ad page declines. Budget reforecasts and slashings. Abrupt resignations. Oh, and that whole recession thing. In short, it wasn't a pretty first half for the magazine industry. Yet, judging by some of the 2008 predictions FOLIO: solicited back in December [0], it wasn't unexpected. We again asked people from all corners of the magazine (and media) world to weigh in with their second half predictions. Here they are, lightly-edited, in no particular order.

NAME: Larry Burstein
TITLE: Publisher, New York Media
[1]SECOND HALF PREDICTION: Those magazines that harness the tremendous power of the Web for their brands will thrive. But only if they build dynamic Web businesses. Many magazines believe simply having a Web presence is enough; a site for value add opportunities or subscription offers. It's not. Readers, visitors, and advertisers are demanding more.

NAME: Reed Phillips
TITLE: Managing partner, desilva + phillips
[2]SECOND HALF PREDICTION: We're not seeing a rebound in valuations yet. The demise of the credit market continues to depress the multiples buyers are willing to pay and now the U.S. economic downturn and higher costs of oil are also eroding confidence among buyers. I guess since my prediction was for year-end 2008 I might still be right, but I'm much less optimistic at this time.

NAME: Emily Gordon
TITLE: Managing editor, Print [3]; editor, Emdashes.com
[4]SECOND HALF PREDICTION: AOL repositions as AWESOMENESS OVERLOAD! All caps, exclamation point. Content from, and click-approved as awesome by, millions of 10-year-olds (there is also a portal for infants) uploads every second; as you might expect, there are plenty of baby hedgehogs. The new AOL has it all-news, shopping, sports, social networking, how-tos, tickets, casinos, messaging, radio, weather, polls, ads, apps, maps, dating, PSAs on STDs, candidate soundbites, horoscopes, music, video, ringtones, games, and e-mail. It just all goes by in one second. It's pretty painless, actually.

NAME: Bob Sacks [5]
TITLE: President/Publisher, Precision Media Group
SECOND HALF PREDICTION: As atoms get heavier and more costly to move the industry finally realizes that computerized digits do not need to be picked up by fuel burning trucks for either initial delivery or as the dreaded return and thrown into a land fill.

Us will go to them. Radar will blink, and OK! might not be.

B-to-B will move to make digital editions the default choice for subscribers. Production managers will change their job descriptions to Coordinators of Data Distribution, sometimes called the living D.E.A.D. ("Distributors of Edit & Ads Department") ending centuries of the need to understand putting ink on paper. More publishing dinosaur management who don't already have their own Facebook page, nor the knowledge of how to build one, will be asked to either jump from the executive terrace or take what's left of the money and run.

NAME: Henry J. Boye
TITLE: Publisher, Harvard Business Review
SECOND HALF PREDICTION: The economy will soften further (at least in the US) causing a continued drag on all of us that serve consumers. The staffs and budgets supporting advertising and marketing efforts will be pinched even further, greatly increasing the focus on effectiveness of spend. This will increase demand for integrated offerings that drive value in the practical and proven (versus simply intuitive) sense.

NAME: Mark A. Newman
TITLE: Editor-in-chief, Southern Breeze
[6]SECOND HALF PREDICTION: Sadly, I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. When salary and hiring freezes are the "good" news of the day, I feel that there's going to be a lot more closings, layoffs, buyouts, etc. And with Starbucks shuttering 600 U.S. stores, where are all of the out-of-work magazine staffers going to hang out and be bitter or work? Editorial types will have to update their skill sets and become well versed on the electronic aspects of publishing more and more by becoming the in-house web editors, web reporters, and bloggers. And I wouldn't be surprised if surviving staffers-especially at smaller pubs-are going to have to really expand their skill sets and become pros at everything from buying and pricing paper to IT. Those with secure jobs (as secure as they can be, that is) are likely going to stay put longer before climbing that corporate ladder or venturing to another company where you can find yourself out of a job in 6 months due to cutbacks. I also think that before the end of the year, a long-time big name consumer book publisher is going to undergo major overhauls that will send the industry reeling to the point that top editors will start considering the priesthood as a more viable option than publishing! And when it DOES start getting better, it will just mean no more layoffs or shutdowns; there will be new pubs launched hither and yon but not at the same levels as before.
NAME: Patrick Gavin
TITLE: Editor, mediabistro's FishbowlDC
[7]SECOND HALF PREDICTION: I predict that a white male will be selected to replace Tim Russert.

NAME: Bob Eckstein
TITLE: Cartoonist [8], New York Times, Time Out New York
SECOND-HALF PREDICTION: As magazines have officially become leisure items for seniors (eg. most healthy magazines have been AARP, Reader's Digest, Modern Maturity, Playboy, etc.), TV will follow suit and expect to see more shows for seniors this upcoming season:

NAME: Kyle du Ford
TITLE: Freelance writer
SECOND HALF PREDICTION: 10 Guaranteed 100% Accurate Predictions or Your Money Back! 1. Jann Wenner will fire somebody.2. Men's Health will put an actor on the cover with great abs.3. Jack Johnson will make another superfluous cover. Sans shoes. 4. Due to travel constraints, staff writers will change their titles to researchers, if only in spirit.5. Outside Go will replace Best Life on stylish men's coffee tables.6. Paper costs will increase.7. iPhone will make another superfluous cover. Sans shoes.8. Maxim will feature more breasts in 2008 than 2007.9. Readymade will make you feel stupid by introducing a product you could never build if you had 1,000 men and $500,000.10. FOLIO: will not even make mention of 1-9. Can you believe these guys?