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I've always felt that non-print media are where the real 1:1 action is. Here's an interesting article that discusses some of the latest thoughts behind it:
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I admit it, I'm a broadband bigot. For years, I accused others of being so, while I suffered with erratic dial-up service. But now I've got two years of broadband access behind me, and I don't know how I managed without it. For media competing with print, the speed of broadband is critical to their plan (whoever is behind the conspiracy!) of "killing" print. The top income households have it, and while there has been a lot of discussion about the slowdown of the broadband build-out, I don't really think it's that relevant. What I look at is the following:
A growing economy will obviously encourage more broadband use and create more interest in new broadband products. "Print Bigots" be forewarned: broadband creates a very satisfying Internet experience and a greater ability to access information online rather than using brochures and other printed products. In our family, "Googling" has become the principal method of gathering any kind of information we need for vacation planning, homework research, investment information, and a host of other uses.. Particularly awesome is Google's news page, created through automated monitoring of news stories and continuously updated. And most of you are aware of my fascination with the online version of the Wall Street Journal, which has become a standard for all newspapers on the web.
That doesn't mean that the revenue "model" (I always hated
that now-cliched term; a model is supposed to represent reality, but people
use it as if the term meant forcing reality to match the model) for publishers
and content-owners is solved. Few Internet-only businesses are profitable,
and those that are certainly publish a lot of "pro-forma" financial
statements, don't they? We're still in a long transition phase and a very
long period where print and electronic media will continue to coexist.
One is not going to eliminate the other, but they will certainly work
together to strain the profitability of each other. It's doubtful that
products like wsj.com would survive on its own without the fixed revenue
coverage of its much larger hard copy edition.
And that's part of the problem. Old and new media are competing for the same investment and spending dollars. The media choice is not up to us; it's up to the buyers and users. For now, when they're asked to choose between old and new media, their answer is "both." Broadband bigot that I am, I agree, There are some magazines that I just prefer in print. That is the exact predicament publishers are in today.
As an aside, the recent announcement by the GPO about the planned shutdown of their physical bookstores is a sign that the availability and use of broadband in businesses and among researchers is common. The GPO bookstore was grossly inefficient. I once had to write one of Rhode Island's Congressional representatives to intervene in a GPO order I was having difficulty with; it took eight months for me to get the books I needed. Now I just jump onto the various agency sites and get everything I need in a timely and reliable manner, and I can even correspond with the actual agencies rather than using the GPO as an intermediary.
Speaking of Google, word on the street is that the company is doing $60 million in sales, selling its software and advertising capabilities, and is likely to go public soon. At least that's the hope of Silicon Valley veterans, hoping that a company with such high recognition and user loyalty (and spotless reputation) will stimulate interest in IPOs again. But the frothy times of the late 1990s created great suspicion around IPO promotion methods and I wish the healthy skepticism remains and that the cynical obfuscation of true IPO prospects will not return any time soon. We know human nature, though, and when we see that start to happen again, it will be time to get out of the market.
Question: Read your article on understanding overcapacity. I wanted to share one perspective I have on the matter and to see what you think. When looking at flaws in our industry's basic belief system, I see printers using BHR's (budgeted hourly rates) where the handling of utilization implies that customers should "pay" for overcapacity. We know this is not correct. As such, printers actually ignore the overcapacity issue on a daily or micro basis and simply attempt to recover dollars through pricing. That doesn't make sense either. Could it be that our industry needs to have both a macro and micro capacity management understanding?
Answer: The market basically needs no macro perspective about capacity utilization because that would just measure legacy and obsolete capabilities, as I discussed in the article. The real focus should be on understanding the nature of demand on a proactive basis. As far as micro, or individual firm, use of the concept, that is the most important. Using BHR's requires an assumption about the desired production level of a particular business. Bad BHR assumptions are punished by the marketplace. You know that BHR's are wrong if you have to constantly violate them when estimating jobs. While some print sales people can't sell anything unless they have a rock-bottom price. It is when good sales people are getting beaten up on price all the time that there is an indication that something else is wrong, and it's quite often with BHR managerial assumptions. This is particularly a problem in smaller shops, where they may only look at their BHR's once a year or less. In the long run, customers never pay for overcapacity, because they can always take their dollars elsewhere.
My consulting friends think I'm a glutton for punishment because I'm always buying Version 1.0 of software releases, getting burned now and then. But it is not always Version 1.0 that gets you - Acrobat 6.0 was one that just got me.
Having tried and decided to skip Acrobat 5.0, not liking the revisions they made to navigation, some strange font rendering that was described as an improvement, and constant troubles getting links in documents to work, I stuck with 4.0. After seeing the new ad campaign and some favorable reviews, I figured I'd make the jump to 6.0. Alas, conflicts with my mouse caused it to work slowly and to lock up. I wended my way through tech support for the software ("Well, at least we found out what was causing the conflict") and the mouse ("Logitech just supports the mouse, not the software driving the mouse") and the mouse software (no tech support to be found other that last year's fixes which I had already downloaded back then). So it's back to Acrobat 4.0 for me, which still works just fine. Oh, and Adobe has just dropped support for that product. No other software I use has this conflict, and being a software junkie, I try everything. As usual, I've got my neck out on the cutting edge and my feet stuck in the past.
Does office software really require that we have Acrobat as a standalone anymore? Outlook is slowly replacing word processing software, and suites like WordPerfect, OpenOffice, and StarOffice include PDF creation plug-ins as part of their software. So other than downloading Acrobat Reader, need we do anything else to function effectively in day-to-day business communications?
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