Don’t Stick a Fork in All Traditional Media – It Ain’t Done Yet




BusinessWeek MagsWe could spend all day every day telling you about the latest and greatest flame out in the traditional media world. Every day a newspaper or magazine or some other bastion of the “old world media order” goes away but that gets kind of old. I would even go so far as to say that we on the online side of the world have gotten a little cocky and maybe receive a little too much joy from the tumble of the old media outlets. As a result it is possible that we clump all of these properties together and make a broad (and likely incorrect) assumption that eventually there will be no room at all for the traditional delivery of newspapers and magazines because everyone and everything will be online only.

Not so fast says the new owners of BusinessWeek magazine, Bloomberg LP. Fresh off their namesake’s election for a third term as New York City mayor (congrats to Mayor Bloomberg) the company has announced some plans for the magazine that has a very unique place in the business and marketing world. Mediaweek reports

Bloomberg’s chief content officer Norman Pearlstine revealed the plans for BusinessWeek’s future direction during an employee meeting Nov. 3. He said that Bloomberg would increase the number of pages in the magazine, upgrade the paper stock, double the story count and expand its global coverage, according to a source who was present.

That’s not a “shrinking violet” approach by any means. While it remains to be seen how such an aggressive expansion of a traditional magazine will play out I think it may be a good move. Many who read the magazine have been slower to adopt the ‘online only’ mentality. In other words, they are older readers but who have money and influence so they are still very desirable. Sure they won’t live forever and eventually the printed version may have to go away but why ignore the market now just because everyone and their brother proclaims the death of the printed word every day? Is it possible that pundits may actually be wrong or at least a bit over zealous? Oh dear, not that!

What about the online side of the ledger? It’ll be there and it will be a mix of the old ‘free content’ model and the new ‘pay wall’ approach.

As for the Web, Bloomberg plans to keep most of its content free while creating deep, vertical content areas that paying users could access for roughly $100 a year.

Sounds like a smart idea. Cover all of your bases. Make hay while the sun is shining. If done correctly traditional media outlets have more opportunities for revenue than ever before albeit a potentially short window of opportunity to take advantage of several delivery options due to the disparate make up of today’s business news consumer.

The final indication that Bloomberg sees opportunity is the tact of actually charging MORE for the magazine subscription and adding Bloomberg to the magazine’s title.

I have to admit that I think that this may be one of the few traditional titles that could pull this off while establishing itself in a high end market that marketers will love whether it’s in print or online or both. I am looking forward to seeing the new BusinessWeek and watching this model go up against the News Corp.’s ‘pay for it all’ mentality. Who do you think will win or is there room for both?