Wednesday, February 14, 2007

$64 billion question for print publishers

Jeff Jarvis has found a great post by Colin Crawford an online executive at global IT trade publisher, IDG.

IDG's "absolute dollar growth of [our] online revenues now exceeds the decline in [our] print revenues", Crawford says. And it's working for them. Online growth is more than making up for decline in print revenue.

It's a great post because, as Jarvis emphasises, this is the holy grail, the $64 billion question for print businesses transitioning to online: How do you develop a strong digital revenue stream, as print inevitably declines, without cutting costs and jobs to the point where you no longer have a recognisable publishing brand?

IDG's example seems to prove it can be done.

Arthur Sulzberger will be glad to hear it. The publisher of the New York Times told Israeli news site Haaretz last week, "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care, either".

I don't think we'll hear David Kirk put it quite like that any time soon, but it does underline the importance of the Fairfax half year results this week.

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