Case in point: had to have some x-rays taken this week. The woman taking the "photos" made small talk while waiting in between shots. "What do you do for a living?" she queried. "I work for a free paper publishing trade association," was my proud reply. "What are you gonna do when that goes under?" was her quick (and cold) retort. After a nano-second of reconsideration, she added "I mean I hope you'll be able to retire before they stop making newspapers."
So I work in a dying industry...and I look old, too? X-rays are something, aren't they?
It was not the first time someone offered such best wishes to me, and you have heard them, too, if you are a print industry person. Public opinion of what is printed on newsprint and delivered daily or weekly to area homes and newsstands really isn't bad, but the vast majority of readers probably agree with the impression that our days are numbered. I say probably because I don't have a stat on public impression of our anticipated longevity. I looked for some research on it, but found none. What I did find was a lot of surface gloom and doom articles but many that also showed a more realistic vision (if one took the time to read all the way through).
Here is a quick summary synopsis of what I learned:
1. Paid circulation continues to fall.
2. Local and national retail display sales dropped again in 2014, as they have done since the recession was born in mid-2008.
3. Numbers of free standing inserts delivered by newsprint media are holding steady, producing profits but always in play.
4. Successful print media must have an interactive online presence that delivers strong, local content.
5. There are people who still like the feel and experience of a paper and experts believe there always will be, but the numbers are smaller.
Nothing surprising there. What caught my attention in my searching is the clock that is running, toward the next economic tightening. Experts talk about recessions coming in six or seven year cycles, and that means the next one is closer than the last. A lot closer. The exact date and the depth are unknown, of course, but as long as experts predict it will happen, most consumers will catch the Chicken Little bug, stop spending and help bring it to fruition.
That said, what have you done to not just survive but thrive in the next slump? FCPNY will help provide ideas on two fronts this October, both in the same venue: the Leadership Summit. First, we have an excellent lineup of speakers and presenters who will talk trends and the immediate future of print and digital venues. They have ideas to use now. Second, your peers in this industry, association members and associates, will be talking and sharing, both informally and at structured idea exchange sessions we have scheduled.
We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity, right in your backyard at the Genesee Grande Hotel here in Syracuse. CLICK HERE for more information, and thank you.