Sunday, February 24, 2013

5 Super Questions for Associations and Association Publications

With stats like these, what is the future of association print publications?
Super Bowl results combined with three articles on media trends caught my eye over the last weeks. 

All related to the big issue: what is the future of printed publications.

And, the Super Bowl helped showcase the continuing engagement power of Social Media platforms, especially Twitter.

#1  Rem Rieder of USA Today wrote a column “Reduced newspaper delivery: Smart or death knell?”  This piece highlights the dilemma many associations face: when – if ever – you convert your magazine or newsletter to digital and stop sending printed editions. 
               Key Elements:
    • The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y., will become the latest daily newspaper to go less-than-daily when it reduces its home delivery schedule to three days a week. It will hardly be the last.
    • Randy Siegel, president for local digital strategy for Newhouse’s Advance Publications:
      • "If you just ride out a decline, that's not a path to survival. Perpetuating the status quo was not an option." Do you publish daily newspapers that bleed cash three or four or five days a week when you need capital to invest in digital?
      •  Media analyst and American Journalism Review columnist John Morton gives Advance props for making a bold move. "What Newhouse is doing is a very brave effort to embrace the future," he says. "Whether it's smart remains to be seen."

#2 Keach Hagey of The Wall Street Journal wrote that Washington Post Seeks to Sell Headquarters.  Washington Post Co. is exploring the sale of its headquarters. 
                Key elements:
    • Many other publishers have made similar moves. New York Times sold the building that once held its printing presses in 2007. Gannett Co. announced it was selling the building of its Rochester newspaper that the company founder, Frank Gannett, had built in the 1920s as his corporate headquarters. And Gannett-owned Detroit Free Press, along with the Detroit News and their joint Detroit Media Partnership, said it planned to leave the companies' downtown home, where it printed newspapers for decades.
 #3   In “2 years later, AOL and HuffPost like the connection,” Laura Petrecca of USA Today wrote about the success of the marriage of AOL and Huffington Post which engaged 110 million monthly U.S. unique visitors in December. The combo’s all-digital platform includes the Huffington Post,, TechCrunch, local-news provider Patch and other content-focused assets. 
             Key elements:
    • “We have the best of both worlds,” she adds. “We are a stand-alone entity within a great parent company that is very supportive of our big dreams.”
    • But for The Huffington Post to keep its relevancy, she says, “it has to keep growing and evolving and engaging readers in new ways.”
    • To that end, Huffington Post is:
      • Extending global reach.
      • Adding more videos.
      • Going mobile.
      • Increasing lifestyle content.
#4. ROB STOTT wrote in Associations Now on The Different Shades of Magazine Publishing  Print or digital? It’s the question that both for-profit and nonprofit publishers have been trying to settle for at least a decade. 

          Key elements:
    • Two associations launching new publications last month answered it differently, but both were driven by member needs.
    • Looking at what’s happened to the broader industry of printed publications and journalism, it makes sense.
    • The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) introduced new magazines aimed at providing broader value and content to their members and industries. While both are quarterly publications, the vehicles they use to deliver content vary.

Meanwhile, other information/facts about this topic include:

#5  Super Bowl shows big events remain big draws 

             Key elements:

    • "It's more than just being about live television," Pilson says. "It's about unscripted TV. At a time where there are hundreds and hundreds of channels with scripted programming, the American public has shown an appetite for programming, like American Idol, where the results aren't known. Sports has ridden the wave, but it's more than just sports."
    •  Adds David Carter, a Los Angeles-based sports marketing consultant who also teaches at Southern California: "With both big-event sports and entertainment, if you sprinkle in the overall cultural element, it's almost like you have to watch so you won't be an outcast on Monday morning."
#6  Social media scores with Super Bowl

               Key elements:

    • In all, there were 47.67 million instances of social-media engagement during the game between the winning Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, Trendrr reports.
    • Bluefin Labs, a firm in Cambridge, Mass., that analyzes social media related to TV, also reports the game was at the center of a record. Bluefin counted 30.6 million social-media comments related to the game: 27.7 million via Twitter and 2.8 million on Facebook.(Twitter wins 10:1)

#7  2013 Super Bowl Ads Favor URLs, Hashtags –Not Facebook.  

               Key elements:
    • Integration to reach the Dynamic Customer a top priorty for brands.
      • 75% of Brands integrate second screen experience, up 7%. 
    • Hashtags, presumably aimed for Twitter, dominate over Facebook. 
      • Niche Players Come and Go: Shazam down, Instagram enters. 
    • • Summary: Expect Hashtags to Over take Corporate Websites in 2014.

Here’s how I see this guiding associations:

  1. Are your events “live” or so scripted that they don’t seem relevant to your audience today?
  2. Are you combining traditional marketing vehicles with social media platforms?
  3. Are you prepared to move from printed to online publications?
  4. Are you considering cutting major expenses (such as office space) so you are more flexible?
  5. Have you considered acquisitions or consolidations with other similar organizations that might be a dynamic combination better serving your members?

Shakeout in old media picks up pace


Today's papers included a full article on the continuing shakeup in old media.  

Some key points of the article:
  • Companies are moving to quarantine their more profitable units from the fallout of print advertising's decline. And vulnerable print businesses increasingly are left to survive on their own merits, with a hope that their executives, no longer distracted by other divisions, will provide more resources and navigate the digital transformation with stepped-up vigor.
  • Last year, total U.S. digital advertising spending reached $37.3 billion, exceeding spending on print ads for the first time.
  • Several deals have surfaced in recent months that could reshape four of the 10 largest newspapers, some of the most popular and profitable magazine titles and a giant in the education publishing market.
And be sure to enjoy Michael Wolff's column on how disrupter Craigslist is now being disrupted.  Paints a picture that we can never be satisfied with where we are.  Holds true for associations too!

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