Bo Sacks, President and Publisher of Precision Media, talked after lunch about the future of the publishing industry. His main argument focused on publishers' need to embrace new technologies as they emerge and that denial of their existence and importance would rapidly lead to our decline.
Bo's charismatic speech, which included many an amusing picture slide, aimed to encourage us that print was not dead, and that it was only the delivery of our content that has changed and will continue to change for years to come. He talked about the new technologies, such as e-readers, that are available to allow magazines to survive if editors utilize their function. This lightweight product, which holds thousands of pages of content, simulates the form and flexibility of paper and relies on low power - only used when turning a virtual page. Bo talked about the host of different companies now involved in producing e-readers, such as Fujitsu and Sony, which served to emphasise his point that we are not a dying industry, we are innovating and finding new ways to survive.
Bo stressed that magazines still have a lot to offer their readers, noting six key properties of a magazine which will continue to aid its survival:
Metered - division of written material into defined pages of content
Edited - the use of editors to fact-check and tweak content to avoid the publication of irrelevant and low-quality material.
Designed - that information and content is arranged and formatted by professionals to suit their audience.
Date-Stamped - giving readers the opportunity to relate content to context.
Permanent - other than a few minor edits, once the content is published it is permanent.
Periodical - relates to calendar rythms and is relevant at the time of print.
He expressed his belief that the internet had not killed newspapers, that their decline preceded its introduction, but that this new media most likely accelerated the speed of their regression.
Bo championed Twitter as a way of instantaneously communicating up-to-the-minute news to a specific audience. He noted the Chinese earthquake tweet as an example of the relevance of this form of communication. He explained that there was a new kind of attitude where people expect the news, if important enough, will find them. This passive approach to reading the news necessitates the use of sites like Twitter in order to reach a less active audience.
Bo's main theme was that quality of content is key. Magazines, he declared, are still hugely relevant and, if we adapt to the technological changes, we will continue to survive and thrive.
"It is now more important to know how to search for a fact than to know a fact".
"The future is already here, it's just not widely distributed"
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it"