Tuesday, March 29, 2005

On death and dying in the media

One of the more common topics discussed on media blogs is the death of print media. And there's always an argument to be had in predicting that one form of the medium will perish, while another will thrive.
I have my opinions on the subject too. I worry that the newspapers of my youth may not be around by the time my grandchildren are old enough to read. But like my friend Douglas Fisher, I'm not convinced that all is lost. And I tend to feel quite positive about the outlook for community newspapers.
I don't see blogging as a competitive threat to traditional forms of journalism; I see blogging as a long-overdue response by the consumers of traditional journalism. Bloggers are journalism's audience, journalism's partners, journalism's opportunity to understand itself.
I'm fascinated by the spread of citizen journalism into audio, but I don't expect that podcasting will destroy radio.
And I'm least worried about the print versions of B2B media -- which puts me in a different camp from Rafat Ali of Paidcontent, who says his "pessimism is mainly about trade mags."
Here's why I'm optimistic:
First, much of the B2B press has the advantage of controlled circulation. When it's time to cut the media clutter, the free stuff in my mailbox is not where I'll look first. Second, the B2B press publishes (or at least tries to publish) information that is needed. People are less likely to stop reading things that can bring them money than they are to stop reading things that cost them money. Third, trade publishing is about information distribution. Smart publishers will find multiple ways to get information to users and make money from it. B2C publishing is about the "package"-- selling indistinct, commodity-like pieces of information in a single magazine. It's going to be difficult for Vogue or Seventeen to find a way to sell a single piece of content about lipstick directly to readers. But price information, market-share data, competitive analysis -- the cores of B2B information -- can sell with or without the rest of a trade mag.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.