May 29, 2014 Last Updated 3:44 pm

While you were away, the world changed… sorry about that

Source Interlink Distribution calls it quits, one day after Time Inc. says they are owed money and will shift their business

There are days when all hell seems to break loose, magazines get sold off, companies go out of business, and phones don’t get answered because “they are out of the office attending an event.” (I once asked a publishing exec if anyone could do any work attending so many events – they simple responded “they can’t.”)

logoI’m sure the next few days the promoters of print publishing will lay low, before speaking at the next event and reassuring their audience that all is well. But for the industry, the news that Time Inc. had pulled the plug on Source Interlink Distribution, and then that Source Interlink Distribution had pulled the plug on itself, should be sobering. (Oh, and by the way, Source Interlink media folded 12 titles and cut close to 100 positions.)

Four years ago this site said that the growth of mobile and tablet publishing platforms would mean even more change was coming down the pipe. TNM doesn’t get into predictions, but the one I made here was that unless you were the number one title in your field, unless you were properly managed, controlled cost, and continued to drive revenue, the market was simply not going to continue to support your title – it couldn’t.

…”it’s with a heavy heart that I am writing to advise you that Source Interlink Distribution Company will be discontinuing all operations in the near future…” – Michael L. Sullivan, CEO, Source Interlink Distribution

Many, especially in B2B, have been waiting for the great turnaround, the day when ad dollars would come roaring back. But a great chart I saw a while ago showed the level of advertising dollars, adjusted for inflation, that is spent on media – going back many years. It showed, basically, a straight line, with dips during bad times, small climbs in good, but basically a straight line. The introduction of new publishing and advertising platforms would, therefore, not mean new dollars coming into the market, but simply a shift. Those dollars will have to come from somewhere.

And what about readers, do they have new dollars to spend on all that digital media being created? Or will they shift their dollars, too?

But there is an industry out there built on telling publishers what they want to hear. Print is alive and well, someone will say. The best solution is cheap and easy. You don’t need to hire new digital experts, in fact, you can even cut staff – do more with less.

Sorry. While you (and hopefully, I don’t mean you) the world changed. The bill collector came calling, the client wouldn’t accept the rate hike, the newsstand closed down, and the post office just isn’t that into you anymore. If some are surprised then maybe they have been to one too many events, one too many meetings where the media guru told them what they wanted to hear. Sorry, the world changed. If you hadn’t noticed before today…. well, today happened.

Comments are closed.