Audience members at last month’s Magazine Publishers Association conference had a real treat when David Carr of The New York Times interviewed the panel of industry heavy weights.
As Publishing Executive’s Denis Wilson points out, Carr was amusing and persistent in asking the questions that made the panelists squirm for footing, insisting they answer the questions and not deflect to talking points.
Wilson’s article is a good read for many reasons, including the sound bite quotes from Hearst and Rodale execs. Common threads include collaboration on technology and platform issues (that will be nice) and the need to innovate in the face of uncertainty (nothing surprising there).
If this sounds like evasive answers, don’t blame Carr. He was persistent in pushing for answers that went beyond the rhetoric.
Still, one of our favorite responses came from a question by audience member Bo Sacks, who asked when publishers expect digital subscriptions to be half of their revenue. Around 3% currently, Hearst expects to get to 10% by 2016, noting that their company “will save 5 million dollars” for each 1% bump.
If 10% by 2016 is the goal, the print publishing industry can take a deep breath and collect their thoughts. There is no digital galloping goblin at our heels about to entire swallow our industry. Yes, we need to be aware, and we need to look to business models that incorporate the digital realities. But let’s not panic.
I guess what I’m saying is we just all need to relax a little bit and focus on what we do, and continue to do it to the absolute best of our abilities.