Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

•  Another week, another company filing for bankruptcy protection. This time it was Penton Media. While much of the talk, when these things are announced, is about the decline of print media, the reality is that the real culprit is usually the large debt loads dumped on these firms by the PE firms that buy them. If it sounds like a racket you've been paying attention.

•  Of course, just because a newspaper or magazine company is not in debt doesn't mean it won't close anyway -- witness The Daily Planet. In this case, the problem appears to be that the paper reflects its liberal readership . . . and not the advertising community that is needed to support it. Berkeley is a far more complex place than many understand. It has America's best wine shop, its best bakery, and one of the best caf├ęs all within ten feet of each other.

•  The San Diego Union-Tribune has tapped the Orange County Register's V.P. of Interactive to be its top editor, Jeff Light.  Union-Tribune publisher Ed Moss said they were "looking for someone who brought more than a traditional newspaper background to the position. I wanted to have someone that really understood the electronic end of the business.”
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•  Already a big player on the iPhone, Panelfly is ready to take on the iPad and tablet publishing.  This is a great example of how to grab a leadership position in publishing through first to the post positioning. Panelfly's iPhone app is rated fairly highly which gives them a good chance to be adopted by iPad buyers immediately.  On the iPhone, and I assume on the iPad, the app itself is free and gives readers access to a mobile store, organize and then share their views on the comics they purchase.

•  In the area of crazy speculation, there is this story, speculating about the possibility of Google buying T-Mobile. It's probably nonsense. But . . . what would this do to the mobile market? The same thing this company seems to want to do to couponing, bring the price down to zero and play by different rules.  It's a lesson that still needs to be learned by all old media pros, even those who are in total denial: what if the price of the products you offer goes down to $0?  Think Craig's List and classified; think Realtor.com and real estate.

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