Media Revolution

In publishing, only the fittest will survive

In my 15 years in publishing, economic cycles and consumer habits have significantly changed advertiser behavior and content-delivery methods, but at no time in recent history has there been such a seismic shift in media delivery than what we’re experiencing now.

Newspapers share a plight similar to that of General Motors and Chrysler: falling demand, failing business models and fierce competition. Some prominent papers have already crumbled under the pressures; many more won’t survive.

The availability of free news online is just one reason. News Corp. chairman and media mogul Rupert Murdoch said in an interview on News Corp.’s U.S. Fox Business channel last month: "Within 10 years, I believe nearly all newspapers will be delivered digitally [either on computers or electronic reading devices]."

But customer preference is not the sole reason for the decline of print newspapers. Alternatives to traditional advertising and the fact that newspapers made some poor decisions when it came to monetizing electronic content are also to blame. Many newspapers created business models that couldn’t sustain costly print editions.

Magazines are a bit different, mostly because their very nature has allowed them to remain attractive to advertisers—they have a shelf life, and, if done right, they provide readers information and insight that can’t be found anywhere else. They delve deeper into subjects than newspapers can, so people are willing to "pay" for the content, whether it be via advertising, subscriptions or membership.

Even so, magazines certainly haven’t been immune to shifts in reader preference and advertising dollars. Many, in fact, have suffered and have scrambled to salvage a web presence, or gone out of business all together. It’s survival of the fittest to be sure.

Rest assured, QP is here to stay. ASQ is committed to providing QP in print—something readers demand. In fact, according to the results of QP’s most recent readership study, less than 10% read QP online only. Many more verbatim comments echoed this "We want print" sentiment.

That’s not to say we’re not investing in QP’s electronic presence. The site remains a valuable resource for your continuing education and on-the-job use—a perfect complement to the print edition.

This issue’s highlights include articles on translating "quality-speak" into a language management can understand: money. Money talks in this economy—learn some tips for making every word count in "All Ears."

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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