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How Magazines Can Survive

Industry wise man Bo Sacks proposes a new business model:

Content was and always will be about information, but the source and origins of that information is growing exponentially. With literally millions and millions of Web pages and blogs, how are we going to sort through the morass and find what we want? Google and Yahoo are light years ahead in the quest to be the royal content provider — as the giant publishers were of old. But the next winner is only an algorithm away from knocking them off their substantial but most likely temporary pinnacles. The governments of Europe have invested hundreds of millions of Euros to do just that. In Europe they want develop a better search engine, and compete directly with Google head on. Can they do it? Perhaps. But if it is not the new European consortium then surely somebody else will.
Enter the new age publisher, the entrepreneurial publisher who “gets it.”

Read on here.

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Bad New for FHM Contributors

fhmzzz.jpgLONDON, Dec. 13 ( Reuters) — The British magazine publisher Emap announced on Wednesday that it would close the American edition of FHM magazine because of the difficult advertising market. (Times)

‘Is Print Dead? Discuss!’

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Over on the main site today, mb editors Dorian Benkoil and Dylan Stableford have a discussion on why magazines are in trouble, and the Internet won’t be their savior:

Yet, while they jump on the digital bandwagon, can the publishing companies make the kinds of profit margins in the online world they have become used to in print? The lion’s share of the billions of dollars being made from Internet advertising goes to Google and other search engines selling ads that pay only when someone clicks on them. That’s a far cry from the luxurious “branding” ads for handbags, cosmetics, couture and vacations found in top glossies. When a magazine’s Web side is able to capture some Web ad dollars, those dollars add up to a lot less than print. And as readers go online, they’re worth a lot less. There are hardly any Internet subscription dollars — few people will pay to read general interest publications online — and there’s no such thing as a full-page, glossy ad spread that brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You can read more here. And while print still has a heartbeat, you can check out the How to Pitch for the LA Times Weekend.

So What Do You Do, Christie Hefner?

swdyd_christie_hefner_hp.jpgI would just like to point out that I occasionally ride in the elevator with Christie Hefner. The Playboy Chicago offices are located a mere few floors above my head as I type this. Jealous? No? Anyway, as the CEO of Playboy Enterprises, one of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women In The World — and, oh yeah, daughter of Hugh — Christie Hefner’s perspective on the media industry — and life, really — is unlike your’s, our’s or anyone else’s. Mediabistro.com managing editor for media news Dylan Stableford chatted with Christie during the 2006 American Magazine Conference in Phoenix, Arizona (she was the chair of that, too) about magazines, Playboy, Penthouse, the venerable Playboy brand and what it’s like to hang out at the Mansion with Dad and all of his robes.

Hold Off on That BlackBook Pitch…

…unless you don’t mind not getting paid. (NYPost. thanks for the heads up, Susan.)

So What Do You Do, Danyel Smith?

danyelsmith.jpgDylan Stableford interviews Vibe’s lovely new/old editor on managing morale after a popular editor is ousted.
PS: the mb main page so wants to be this blog.

One Little Tip for the End of the Day

lilsinker.jpgYou might want to think twice before sending that pitch to Budget Travel. (Jossip)

So What Do You Do, Dean Lemann?

dean_lemann_interview.jpgDorian Benkoil and Dylan Stableford chat with the ‘Pope of MSM,’ a.k.a dean of the Columbia Journalism School:

mb: Is the “citizen journalism” movement valid? Does the so-called wisdom of crowds apply to journalism?
Lemann: Of course. The distinction I’m trying to hold up here is reporting. Citizen journalism does absolutely no harm and is a very helpful add-on. The only objection I have is [the perception that] it can replace full-time reporters, which you see out there a lot on the blogs. It’s additive. The Times-Picayune is possibly the greatest example of [citizen journalism utilized by newspapers]. You don’t have to make a zero sum decision. What I would caution against is defunding in news organizations because citizen journalism can do the same thing or fill the gap. It’s not about the Web. News21 was a project that was big on the Web, and we’re always increasing our commitment to it. What we were doing is Web reporting by full time reporters who know what they’re doing. But reporting shouldn’t get lost as we contemplate the wonderful potential of the Web. A person sitting at home performs a very different journalistic function than a person who is out traveling around with a notebook interviewing people.

Read more here. Also, if you’re interested, Dean Lemann’s 2006 Commencement address at the Columbia Journalism School.

Talk to the Newsroom: Sports

this_sporting_life_poster.jpgFor those of you who ever wondered about the inner-workings of the sports page, Tom Jolly, sports editor at The NY Times, answered reader questions about the newspaper’s coverage.

Burning and Ripping Music Magazines in the MP3 Era

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As the music industry grapples with consumers weaned on iPods and MP3s, music magazines are dealing with a similar shift of their own, writes Dylan Stableford:

When The Fader recently announced that it would distribute its summer issue via iTunes – making it the first magazine ever to do so – it wasn’t terribly surprising. Magazine executives have been talking for years about digital distribution – how their brands will be what survives long after the last of the “magazine” readers die off, rendering magazines a novelty popular with kids who remember seeing them on eBay.
And that’s saying nothing of the underwhelming sale of Spin and subsequent struggle to integrate a new editor; music magazines’ continued loss of advertising revenue; and the closing of niche, yet well-regarded titles like Circus and Grooves.
What was surprising, though, was that it was 85,000-circulation The Fader – not Rolling Stone, not Vibe, not Billboard, not any of the countless national magazines with their ubiquitous “music” issues – that hooked up with iTunes first.

More here.

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