Print or electronic, not really either/or

    A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google  argues that the demise of printed media, particularly newspapers and magazines is as much a result of their own hubris as it is the advent of new media, and that the opportunities for journalism have flourished rather than diminished.

    Fairfax have just announced that the outcomes of a strategic review conducted by McKinsey will result in significant changes to their commercial profile over time, with greater emphasis on electronic media. About time they woke up, having lost huge slabs of classified advertising, their “Rivers of Gold” revenue streams, to specialist web sites like “Car Sales”, “Seek” and others. The tenor of the public announcements still smells of them seeing electronic publishing as a competitive force, rather than a very different but  complementary one that will not go away.

    Print has lost its immediacy over a long time, first to radio, then TV, more latterly the web, but the process has not been one that should have taken them by surprise, the challenge is to harness the fundamental two differences the web has enabled:

  1. Anyone can be a publisher now, in a variety of formats from print to photographic  and video.
  2. The whole communication process is now 2 way, hugely networked and fragmented, no longer a one way broadcast, the source of Fairfax’s success last century. 
  3. My instinct is that it is too late for incremental change to their business model, even at a rapid rate, the game has moved on too far for them to recapture the fortunes of the past. Glad I am not a shareholder, although Fairfax chairman  Roger Corbett has a track record in instituting rapid improvement that generates great returns.


About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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