Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Slide

Old media dinos sliding into the "new media
audience doesn't give a shit about you" tar pit.
In what world does a hard print magazine have over 12,000 employees plus all of the costs of producing a magazine, then sell that magazine for what, 3 or 4 bucks a week in the face of new media that's been inexorably crushing hard print for years?

How many mags do you have to sell just to pay your rent???

Lest we forget, Tina Brown, a semi-comatose publisher, only recently took "Newsweek" all digital. Problem is it was about a decade too late. 

But the "other real problem" is the old media itself, apart from its business model. 

In some ways, the old media dinosaurs are akin to the new media brats -- and those that buy into their horseshit -- in that they evidently don't know basic math. Un-parallel to the media brats, they fail to consider how their content is in at least some (major?) part generationally driven. That is, young kids don't read "The Atlantic", "The New Yorker" or "Time" let alone any of the other dino periodicals. Hell, they don't even read the icon of counter-culture when I was a kid, "Rolling Stone"!

The word is "relevance."

Simply, new media audiences don't give a crap about old media content. Isn't that obvious? On the other side, oldies who care about old media content aren't new media savvy. This latter digital divide is closing, but the crucial element is time; can old media fool, for instance, equities, and sucker them long enough in order to survive for a critical mass of oldies to catch up?

Does that sound like a good bet to you?

Meanwhile, a whole new crop of young/new media, from Voice of San Diego shaking off old journalism's business model (a very good thing), Priceonomics' smart, young take on things thought of from an incisive angle, to any number of smart takes on culture, politics and polemics (Jacobin, Edge, Medium...) that are not only pushing out new thought at an alarmingly good rate but greasing that silicon slide the old media dinos are losing their footing on.

History often focuses on the epochs - the Renaissance, the Third Reich, the Depression ... - but the transitional period/s to me are really interesting. And when you think about this time, given all of the stress points that EM08 is producing, this is obviously a key transitional time for old media.

Time Inc. Hit With Huge Layoffs

As feared, mass layoffs are starting at Time Inc., including editorial cuts at top titles like People andTime, where a voluntary buyout period could be followed by the much-sharper ax. CEO Laura Lang said in a memo to staff today that 6 percent of the company's 8,000 employees, or about 500, have to go in the struggle to be a "leaner, more nimble and more innately multi-platform" publisher. The company is already down some 4,000 people in the last five years.


​I'm a man without a corporation.
​Paddy Chayefsky