IMC 2013 Day 01: Print is in a vortex: Peter Kreisky

15 Feb,2013

By A Correspondent


Peter A Kreisky

Before sharing his experiences and know-how on the global state of the magazine industry, Peter A Kreisky, Chairman, Kreisky Media Consultancy preferred to begin by sounding an alert by announcing that the largest read publishing group Time Inc had been brought over by a relatively smaller player Meredith Corporation in the US. “This tells us what the future will unfold for the print marketplace especially with digital playing a key role in the transformation.”


Stating that the print industry in the USA was around 3-5 years ahead of India, Mr Kreisky through his presentation on ‘Towards the new business model’ highlighted some hard facts surrounding the magazine industry. Backing up his claims through numbers, he pointed out that in 2007-09 the US magazine market witnessed a 35 per cent drop in number of ad pages, which was felt the most by news magazines that saw a decline of almost 65 per cent while newspapers were next reporting a decline of about 60 per cent. “This was the time when the industry as a whole was in a state of crisis but there was a remarkable turnaround that happened from June to September 2010 where top publishers went about hiring new leaders to run the reigns for companies. The thing about these leaders was that they were a younger lot than their predecessors and who were ready to take the plunge where future-readiness was concerned.”


Admitting that the use of print/paper was on the decline, he said that the industry was in a state of vortex that was compounded with issues like extended recession, structural change in ad spends, rise of sophisticated mobile devices, decline in newsstand sales, evolution of powerful digital gatekeepers, etc. But based on the change that was being witnessed, according to Mr Kreisky the three facets that were core to the business were a trusted magazine brand, curated & valued content, and engaged communities.


Mr Kreisky went on to present five new rules for Magazine Media that comprised the following: a) B2C model – from print publishers to being magazines everywhere, b) Portfolio model – From bigger is better to owning customer communities, c) Strategic control – multi-title aggregation to harnessing digital gatekeeper, d) Customer revenue – circulation dollars to branded commerce and e) B2B revenue – from ad sales to marketing sales.


As for the first rule of B2C, Mr Kreisky highlighted that publishers need to move from being print-centric to brand-centric. He cited the example of the Meredith Publishing group that was the first player to adopt the ‘magazines everywhere’ approach. “Today the multi-platform strategies have evolved from porting the same print content to a clearly-defined role where content strategy and business models have gained much prominence.” Today, consumers are at a stage where they need to subscribe only once and they get access to all digital content unlimited, added Mr Kreisky.


Next, Mr Kreisky went on to question the gathering on whether their brand was indispensable for an identifiable community. He cited the examples of brands such as ESPN, The Economist, Dwell, Bloomberg etc and suggested that the publishers had to make a choice whether their digital magazines would be a container or a connector where the role of containers would be to delegate editorial-aggregated content while connectors would be about bringing clusters of people together around well-defined interests.


On the topic of harnessing digital gatekeepers, Mr Kreisky stated the examples of tech brands like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft etc who were playing a huge role in being gatekeepers while also providing a scope to act as collaborators. He shared an important quote with the gathering as he said: “It’s become very clear that digital trumps print and that pure digital without any legacy costs massively trumps print.”


On the next rule of circulation dollars to branded commerce, Mr Kreisky said that where paid content was concerned, avenues such as events, e-commerce, membership schemes etc would do well going forward. “Paid content models can peacefully co-exist with free models if they are clearly differentiated,” reasoned Mr Kreisky. As for the emergence of e-commerce as a model, Kresiky went on to present the example of Shop Bazaar that was leveraging its digital presence well by advertising and selling products only advertised in magazines. That provided the publishers a good revenue model and also enabled them t provide only exclusive stuff to their customers.



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