Monday, December 5, 2011

Is the future for magazines written in digital?

David Carr, the New York Time's media writer, says, in effect, that it's time for us print-nostalgia-laden old media fans to accept the fact that the future is digital.

Pointing to the fact that massive magazine empire Time, Inc. will now be run by digital advertising executive Laura Lang, Carr said "It’s a bracing moment for the print romantics among us. Time Inc., the home of Olympian brands like Time, People and Fortune, will be run by an executive who would not know a print run from a can of green beans."

Lang's words have indicated that she favors the digital direct-benefit approach, which runs counter to the strategies long used in the magazine field.

She may well succeed, and Carr may well be correct that her move presages a total shift in the magazine field. But we've seen an awful lot of successful executives in one field taking over media company and totally botching the job (remember Sam Zell and the Chicago Tribune or any number of manufacturing or financial companies done under by bad managers following the flawed Harvard Business School model of "it's all just about shifting numbers.").

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