Mutating Dead-Tree Media Talk About Dead-Tree Media’s Evolution

Since my recent post on the demise of dead-tree media (print) as we know it today, I stumbled across three highly relevant stories during my Sunday/Monday media-business reading and listening. In fairness to the NYTimes and AdAge, who I cite below, these news organizations have made serious progress to grow way beyond their legacy of dead-tree media. If anything, that’s evidenced by my consumption of these stories via the Internet, followed by my linking to them, followed by my discussion of them here:

New York Times: As Magazine Readers Increasingly Turn to the Web, So Does Condé Nast, by Katharine Q. Seelye

These investments mark a new level of commitment to the Web by Condé Nast, the nation’s second-biggest magazine publisher after the Time Inc. division of Time Warner, and reflect the new reality in the magazine industry: The Internet is an indispensable companion to print. "You gain a broader audience and more loyalty from your subscribers if you extend the experience into the Web," said Steven Newhouse, chairman of, which oversees the local Web sites of the Newhouse newspapers and the Web sites of Condé Nast, all of which are owned by Advance Publications.

New York Times: Mourning Becomes Habitual, by David Carr

Much of the energy, talent and advertising in the magazine business is, of course, heading to the Web. And some fundamentals of the business are cratering, with auto advertising off 23 percent in January in magazines, according to Advertising Age.

AdAge: Print Publishing Decline Quickens As Digital Media Soar, Podcast with Hoag Levins and Jonah Bloom

The print publishing industry continues its decline as the explosive growth of digital media alters the balance of power and buying practices throughout the advertising and media business. Ad Age executive editor Jonah Bloom provides an insider’s overview of the dramatic changes.


I wonder what the employees and management of these print-legacy news organizations feel when they read these continuing critiques. And I wonder what their advertisers say when negotiating advertising placement spends. Whatever they’re thinking, I think the New York Times and AdAge are both doing some good experimentation in the digital world. I hope they do evolve, for they are important news and information sources, and the world is a better place with them in it.

I think AdAge definitely has the most to gain by embracing search engines, the enabler and driver of digital media. What makes AdAge so good – most of the time – is its depth of reporting, analysis and scoops. In my opinion, too much of its content is stifled behind the paid-subscription walled garden – and that’s hurting them. I know MANY occurrences where AdAge uncovered BIG news, but that reporting failed to have any impact on the very industry it covers because that information was unable to spread.

In a recent MediaPost story I helped my CEO, Jonathan Carson, write, he said:

Increasingly, the success of media companies will be based not on the content they create and the eyeballs they draw, but the community and conversation around that content. Likewise, the success of marketers will be determined not by the so-called optimal mix of reach and frequency, but by the consumer traction they generate and the intensity of conversation in relation to brands.

I believe this is an important notion in the evolving media and publishing landscape. In fact, this post is a great example of the "conversation and community around that content."

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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