One of the podcasts I like a lot is a technical, industry-related one: InDesign Secrets, hosted by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción. He’s a renowned author, educator and expert on desktop publishing and, in particular, Adobe InDesign. She’s a world-class Adobe software trainer with special expertise in Adobe Acrobat and InCopy, the word processor that links to Adobe InDesign in publishing environments (which we’ve implemented for some of our clients).
This week, they did an interview with Russell Viers that anyone interested in the future of newspapers (or lack thereof) should check out. Viers is also an InDesign trainer, but he specializes in newspaper publication. And he sees a scenario where even the smaller, local papers — who, until now, have been doing just fine where big city dailies have struggled — will be out of the print publishing business by the end of this decade.
It’s not for lack of interest from subscribers or advertisers. Instead, it’s because of unsustainable printing and distribution costs driven by the more imminent departure of papers like the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and so on.
One analyst says that, if the New York Times stopped printing right now and went solely to electronic distribution, they could afford to give every single subscriber four Amazon Kindles for free. Viers thinks that assumption is probably off, but that the principle is correct. Newspapers have permitted non-newspaper, web-based innovators to decimate their business model. They allowed Craig’s List to steal their classified ad revenue. They allowed Yelp! to steal their restaurant guides. They allowed Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes to steal their entertainment advertisers. Groupon and Living Social are trashing their Sunday coupon business. And so on. Without massive innovation, the newspaper business is headed over a cliff.
Viers is opinionated, sure, but also knowledgeable. Want to hear more? You can download the interview here or on iTunes (search for InDesign Secrets) and listen for yourself.