Yesterday, I published an analysis of the “Power of Print” advertising blitz that just kicked off, to the tune of $90 million. As part of the onslaught, the publishers put this rather bombastic video argument on YouTube:

Now, if print is such an immersive and invaluable medium, why did they have to put this on YouTube?

Possibly to reach the audience that doesn’t read them anymore?

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


6 Thoughts on "Update: The Power of Print! (As Seen on YouTube)"

Come on, Kent. This ad is no more bombastic than your blog post about it. Your “anachronistic mindset” and “vestigial elitism” are over the top, especially for SSP. Forecasting technology is hard enough without this advocacy. Print is useful.

“Vestigial elitism” was someone else’s phrase I quoted, and “anachronistic mindset” is just speculative description.

But I do agree, print is useful. It’s just not dominant, defining, or deterministic in the way it used to be. It has a place, but that place is more and more constrained with each passing year. And to argue otherwise is, I think, bombastic (def. “pompous, overblown”).

Kent, thanks, I would have missed this if you had not posted it. As a long-time magazine person (and subscriber to 3 printed magazines + 4 printed literary journals) I feel the “power of print”, and at the same time I know that print is not a growth medium, it’s only going to be the #1 or #2 titles in any market that can deliver real content and ad value and afford the costs of quality creators and printing and paper. Glad they posted this on YouTube, I have not seen it yet in print. Mark

Kent, I thought of this post last night. After buying printer ink online, I was enticed to fill out a survey in order to get a $100 gift certificate. Not surprised to find out there was a catch:

“Thank you for completing your survey. As a Special Thank You, the first year of up to 4 magazines is already paid for. This $100.00 value is yours for completing this review.”

Earlier this month I had some frequent flier miles that were about to expire, and my only option other than forfeiting them was to trade them in for magazine subscriptions.

I already pay less than $10/year for Wired. And my parents get Rolling Stone at their house with my name on it, and none of us can figure out why.

I wonder if all of these comps have anything to do with their amazing subscription numbers.


That’s a very valid point. Print subscriptions have been so devalued that ad dollars are all that’s left, despite plenty of evidence that consumers are willing to pay for information subscriptions. So, publishers push print at a loss in order to make up for it with advertising rate base. We get “Entertainment Weekly” and another magazine (it always goes to recycling, so I never read it), and we don’t know why, either.

There are many ways to get to whatever number you want. One way is to flood the market and declare victory.

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