Wednesday, August 15, 2012

As the media world turns . . .

Beware of anyone who claims to know what is happening in the media world today. A good example comes from a story today about how the merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast is working out.

The story, in, begins under the headline: "The Daily Beast's Digital Challenge." It tells us that the merger resulted in "a publication that has crafted a model that is, by all appearances, caught between the analog and digital worlds. It goes on to say that it's not a sustainable business model, quoting Barry Lowenthal, president of Media Kitchen, saying: "Newsweek's not going to exist anymore. It will go away."

But then it quotes Stephen Colvin, CEO of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, talking about "impressive internal growth numbers," up 20 percent over last year with ad volume up 50 percent, with ad revenue at Newsweek up 13 percent.

It's interesting in part because media figures keep talking about synergy, which appears to be what's happening here, but the digital folks keep saying "It's not a sustainable model," and that the print half of the merged publication (I treat them as one) will just "go away."

The experience with college and professional newspapers is that if the print publication folds, the online version loses a whale of a lot of readers soon after.

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