Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Still More Assigned Reading!

Kevin Maney of USA Today contends that publishers are just being dense when it comes to Google. In my mind, it's not so unlike when AOL joined with Time Warner, or when home video hit Hollywood 25 years ago. Entrenched interests work to preserve the past, and their salaries, not to take risks.

PIA has finally analyzed their erstwhile PIA Financial Ratios as "profit leaders" and "profit challengers" in their latest press release (11/14/2005). "Profit challenged" is more like it. The differences are subtle, but they certainly add up for the profiled sheetfed operations. The Financial Ratios are filled with hidden gems, and this analysis makes it much more evident. I first saw it done by Bob Rosen, and I did it last year in one of my WhatTheyThink.com columns as "How the Other Three-quarters Live."
PIA release: http://sdm3.rm04.net/ui/modules/display/manageAttachments.jsp?ms=NDI1MjQ3S0&r=OTcyNTE3ODk1S0&j=ODMzNzgyNQS2&mt=1
My WhatTheyThink.com column: http://members.whattheythink.com/drjoewebb/drjoe117.cfm
Bob Rosen's site: http://www.rhrosen.com/

REALLY FUNNY: The New York Times headline "Knight Ridder to Explore Selling Newspapers ". If they had been able to sell real hold-in-your-two-sweaty-little-hands newspapers to real life people, they wouldn't have to consider selling the company!

...But maybe this is why they're in such bad shape...Newspaper web sites added 4 million visitors last year, up 11%... it's hard to monitize web sites the same way you can do hard copy (after all you can always make a printed newspaper have more pages, or add more inserts; think of a newspaper web site as a funnel... it's actually not as scalable from the first viewing as a hard copy newspaper is).

Zinio has published a report on its growth and the growth of digital magazines. Of great interest are the data about international sales. For all of the various cultural content laws that there might be in the world, and tariffs on printed goods, and in some cases outright bans, digital magazines span those barriers, just like the Internet does for all information. It's yet another reminder that being obsessed over trade data is absolutely silly. They can't adequately measure these things, and even when things were measureable, that was done badly. How long and how well Zinio survives will be interesting. They will need to stay one step ahead of other delivery formats, of course, and that requires deft, insightful management, just like any other company. Making the transition from startup to being an established company is traumatic enough. But being in the thick of it, with RSS, e-books, XML, open-source, $100 PCs, all breathing down your neck, is quite exciting, and makes for some hard choices. That's a neat place to be as an executive.
Press release: http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20051114005070&newsLang=en

The congressional Democrats announced an "innovation agenda." Somewhere along the way I remember writing that some politicians are going to make the pronouncement that broadband is a "right" (and I bet if you look hard someone could find it in the Constitution). Where's the printing industry on this? Why wasn't there a right to newspapers? Or a right to brochures? There was almost a right to phone service, and in practical terms, it worked out that way for access to 911 and emergency services. So now there will be a right to broadband? And there are still people who deny that digital media is not as important as I or others make it out to be?

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