Sunday, January 13, 2008

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Quebecor, Publishing Success, and Car

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Quebecor, Publishing Success, and Car Parts

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Quebecor, Magazines, and Steve Florio
Boman, I've been in this industry for 35 years. Like you I have seen a lot of ink poured onto billions of pages. The continued consolidation of the industry from all sides and all suppliers bodes ill for our continued success. There are so many aspects of our ability to make a profit that are under attack that I despair of ever breathing correctly again.

It's the paper problem. Paper makers have a right to make a profit too don't they? It's the printer problem. Shouldn't printers be able to make a fair profit? It's the advertisers. Shouldn't they be able to maximize their dollar investment and get accountability for money spent? It's the generational reading trends. Still an unknown but sizable problem for the printed page.

The Quebecor situation is just one item of hundreds that is putting continued pressure on a fragile industry at a unique moment in time. How do we continue under such diverse unfriendly conditions? For my part I don't blame anyone or any part of the industry. It seems to just be what they call a perfect storm.
Submitted by a Senior Multi-Title Publisher)

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Quebecor, Magazines, and Steve Florio
Bo: As someone who has worked for both printing and publishing companies over the last 34 years, I feel obligated to chime in on the current hype about Quebecor World. Quebecor World has provided publishers and catalogers with a valuable service for a long time, they have kept the cost of printing competitive. IF RRD, Quad and other large printers had their way, our costs would be significantly higher. To rationalize where Quebecor World is today, we have to take history into account. First lets realize that the US plants started as WA Krueger, then became Ringier America and then World Color before becoming Quebecor World. Lets talk about the fact that the previous owners were interested in making money by any means and did not keep up with technology or invest in their infrastructure. Lets face it, by the time Quebecor purchased World Color, the plants and equipment were becoming obsolete and were in desperate need capital expenditures and improvements. Lets think about the determination and faith that it took to consolidate plants and purchase a huge amount of equipment to bring them up to today's quality and efficiency levels. They accomplished this in a remarkably short period of time and while there were specific problems along the road they have reached the pinnacle only to have the financial bridge for the cost of modernization collapse. Lets also ask if the current financial situation might be different if not for the tremendous problems caused by the sub-prime mortgage segment. As one who prints with Quebecor World, RRD, Quad and several other printers, I do not look forward to the demise of Quebecor World and especially if another major printer becomes the owner. I hope that the financial turmoil can be overcome for all of our sake. Lets hope that printing doesn't follow what's happening in the paper industry with mega-mergers and consolidations.
(Submitted by an Industry Supplier)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out - 3 Concepts for Every Publisher's Success
I'd suggest three other points:

1. Content isn't important; creating something that interests an audience is. When you drain the blood out of the activity and leave it as a set of numbers, it's going to fail.

2. Having targets isn't important; you want an audience that really wants to hear what you have to say.

3. Long term profitability and innovation may not go out of style, but they are meaningless when they aren't an organic part of pleasing the customer. Profitability is a byproduct of pleasing customers and running a business smartly.
(Submitted by an Industry Writer)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out - 3 Concepts for Every Publisher's Success
Bo, Simpler words couldn't tell the story! A sound business model and a template for success applies no matter what we're talking about. You can only "push" so much information - it's the end-users' desired "pull" that sustains that publishing entity. You've got to have them engaged, once you do and you continue to fuel that engine, then it's perpetual . . .
Submitted by an Industry Supplier)

Re: Print is Dead: Long Live Print
It's the first time I have read something we can all agree on, right Bo? Just give it a little time and what is old will be new again. And that goes for print and pretty glossy pictures.
Submitted by a paper Supplier)

Re: For magazines, New Year of Challenges
Bo, Don't you love challenges?
Sounds like a motivational seminar from the 60"s.
Submitted by a senior paper person)

Re: For magazines, New Year of Challenges

Here is a shortened view of the top three challenges for 2008
1. Paper
2. Advertising
3. Postal
Pretty much in that order in my opinion.
(Submitted by a Senior Paper Person)

RE: MPA Magazine 'Readers' Are Now Called 'Users' - Gen Y Loves Luxury Paper
Why not just call them the audience? It works for all the types of media,
and calling them users creates the wrong emphasis on the specific
technology, and not the unifying concept of communications.
Submitted by a Writer)

RE; you see this in FOLIO?
I was idling around the newsstand at lunch and was surprised to see the December issue of Hemmings Motor News sitting there, weighing in at 696 pages. Hemmings is basically an antique car and car parts directory. Looking for an antenna for that 1964 Corvair? Find it in Hemmings.

The curious thing is why the print publication is still thick as a phone book. If ever there was a publication to become disintermediated by the Internet, this is it. Hemmings is a place where you go to find things you are looking for, not for random discovery. And, in fact, it has a robust Web site, claiming to be the "world's most comprehensive and informative web site of its kind, featuring over 30,000 searchable cars-for-sale ads, 10,000 Car Club listings," etc.

Maybe it's because car collectors are old and don't use the internet. Nope, we know that all age groups are active users of the Web. Maybe the Hemmings brand is so strong that they can REQUIRE classified advertisers to use print if they want to advertise online. Not so-you can advertise online exclusively. I just don't get it. Why is their print edition so robust? Any ideas?
Submitted by a Senior Publishing Executive)

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