Talk Business Arkansas/AY Publisher Discusses Print Industry Disruption

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 18 views 

Forget the information age, we now live in an attention economy suggests Scott Harrell, publisher of AY and Talk Business Arkansas magazines.

Harrell, appearing on the latest Talk Business Arkansas webcast, shared his views of changes taking place in the print, publishing and media industries.

“I think it’s total disruption,” Harrell said. “Print publishing for the better part of the last ten years has been in a state of disruption. I think what you’re seeing now is the impact of the businesses starting to rise out of that economy from 2008, 2009.”

With recent acquisitions of high-profile newspapers like the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, Harrell contends that the new owners – entrepreneurs like founder Jeff Bezos and Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry – will experiment with new business models.

“I think what’s happening is you’re seeing people who see an opportunity in select places and they’re going in and taking advantage of it,” Harrell said. “Experimentation is coming because the consumers are demanding things so quickly. We live in an era now where instead of you and I telling people when they should get their news, how they should get their news, how they should get their content, they’re telling us they want it now, we want it in this format, and we want to be able to interact with you.. . and they share our content in many different ways.”

Print “isn’t dead,” Harrell says. He still sees an audience that is “deeply interested” in print products and who want to interact with magazines and newspapers in a tangible way.

But he sees niche publications having better success in the future versus general news outlets who have relied on long-standing revenue models tied to the traditional print industry. Electronic media platforms and mobile devices have altered viewing habits and are likely to be the most dominant influencers in the future.

“It’s a huge challenge. I think the electronic media and the move to online and the idea that everything online should be free, that’s a very troubling outlook for businesses that gain so much of their revenue from selling their content,” he said. “Mobile, probably more than anything else, is going to continue to impact how we do what we do. .. Mobile is going to be the dominating way that people access media in the years to come.”

You can watch his full interview with Talk Business Arkansas executive editor Roby Brock below.