Being Good At Media Criticism Doesn't Always Mean Being Good At Media Strategy
from the focus-on-the-paper? dept
Plenty of paper based publications are struggling to figure out how to play in the internet world. While offline subscription revenue is still important, publications have to realize that it’s a revenue stream that is likely to dwindle over time. Surprisingly, though, the Columbia Journalism Review, has decided to bet in the other direction. The dean of the journalism school there has decided to cut the budget of the publications popular website cjrdaily.org in half, causing its two top editors to quit. Instead of investing in the future, Columbia plans to use that money on a direct mail campaign to try to drum up more subscribers to the paper magazine. You can understand the basic reasoning, if you look at the decision as a snapshot today. Paper subscriptions bring in revenue. The website, so far, has no ads — and probably doesn’t generate enough traffic (only 500k page views per month) to make any serious ad revenue in the near future. However, if you look at it from a trend perspective, it seems risky. Paper subscriptions for publications is still a dwindling market, and investing in online properties — including experimenting with new business models, seems like a bet worth making these days. That doesn’t mean ignoring the paper side of the business — but recognizing that the bang for the buck in a direct mail campaign is likely to be pretty low. From a long term perspective, putting a bigger effort into online properties seems to make more sense.