If you follow what’s happening in print media, you know that publishers from sea to shining sea are strug-GUL-ling. Circulation numbers continue to plummet as more and more web-only publications court consumers.
According to a 2014 report by Statista (as in soooo last year), the bottom has been falling since 1981, when 1,730 newspapers enjoyed some level of success in America (in 2011, that number was 1,382). Moreover, research from the Alliance for Audited Media (via Pew Research) shows that sales of newsstand copies for news mags — or the measure most accepted by the industry — followed long-term trends by falling an average of 2 percent in 2014.
The giants of the industry, however, don’t need no stinking numbers. Just ask Hearst — the company behind noted pubs like Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Food Network, Oprah, and Road & Track has already set its sights on expanding its list of titles in 2016.
AdAge recently reported that Hearst President David Carey wants to expand upon his company’s global endeavors by introducing a new print magazine, damn the torpedoes:
“We’re in conversations now with possible joint-venture partners,” said Mr. Carey in a memo to Hearst staff Dec. 31. He did not elaborate further on the print launch in his New Year’s Eve memo, which he sends to staff each year…”I’m pleased to report that our digital businesses are now a vital contributor to our earnings.”
Joint ventures with Scripps Networks Interactive have the publishing juggernaut feeling especially spry at the moment, but does all that chutzpah measure up with good common business sense? Capital New York has the entire memo, if you are so inclined, but here’s one takeaway from Carey:
Over the holidays, I had the chance to reread David Nasaw’s The Chief, a book about our founder, William Randolph Hearst. Early in our history, Mr. Hearst put forth a clear mission for success: to always be “alarmingly enterprising,” words that have never been more relevant than they are today.
Alarm in the media industry can be enterprising…or terrifying. Whatever works.