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Bob Sacks: President, Precision Media Group

Things good in publishing.  David Granger has said that everything is possible.  Let’s rethink everything that we assume. Role as publishers has not changed connect authors with advertisers.  Need to completely understand your revenue and a lot of publishers don’t.

In print, you need to have a reason to be considered indispensable.  The not so distant future is not so scary.  If we expect consumers to pay we need to give them a reason to pay.  Went through 4 stages of internet, primitive joy, confusion, abject fear and recently, lucrative understanding. CEO of Hearst said that revenue will be equally split from print and digital in 2012.  Most publishers should outsource their technology because it changes so rapidly.

There has been a subtle change: it is now more important to know how to search for a fact than  it is to know a fact.

Rate of change is moving, and will move, so fast that it is impossible to make accurate predictions. Ebooks went from nothing to a billion dollar market in just a few years. Do not understand the diminishment of some types of consumer products, such as cds and books.  Increasingly, it is not about the ownership of things but owning access.  Owning is becoming about sharing.  And the problem is that the media is not built for relationships because it was born a time of factories.  Media content is not built for sharing, it is built for the masses.

For publishing, the new paradigms are very hard to understand if you have a posession-based mentality.

Media is nothing more or less than the distribution of information.  Publishing’s franchise is not paper. Print is not dying, it is losing dominance, but loss of dominance is not death – it just feels like it.  Conde Nast said that they have a $15 million business in digital that didn’t exist a year ago. Their goal is to transition from selling print to selling access to an experience – both print and digital.

The internet did not kill the newspaper.  They have been in a major slide since 1960.  New concept for publishers: content is more important than the vehicle of delivery. The new publishing concept should be “universal niche”.  Niches will be the future of publishing.  Big problem today is filter failure.  There is too much information and it is filtered badly.  This is something publishers have always been good at and can be monetized.


  1. “There has been a subtle change: it is now more important to know how to search for a fact than it is to know a fact.”

    _Rainbows End_, by Vernor Vinge, presents one of my most memorable near-future imaginings exploring this concept. (I have recommended the book here in the past because it also has a central theme of the transition from paper books to e-books.)

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