McIlheney to Publishers – Let’s Get Cracking

“One of the many oddities of this so-called digital age is the fear that so many folk still seem to have of speaking this bald truth to Silicon Valley power,” states Barry McIlheney, head of the Professional Publishers Association (PPA). His bold statement appears in a book titled “Last Words: How Can Journalism Survive the Fall of Print,” a collection of articles on the topic of print media.

“What are we all so frightened of? That they might defriend us on Facebook? Block our tweets? Steal all our beautiful content and all the lovely advertising that likes to follow it? Hmmmm,” he ponders, in a reprint of the article that appeared on Campaign.

Clearly, McIlheney is unconcerned about the idea that the digital platform spells the end of print. Indeed, as he points out, it’s not about either/or.

“[It] has always been about print plus digital. Plus social plus live events plus carrier pigeon plus whatever else might have been invented by the time I finish this piece,” he continues.

“If we want progress, we must encourage new formats, but the sad truth for all big fight fans out there is that most big platforms never die.”

And that goes for print magazines. In fact, his optimism for the media is based on the fact that “an awful lot of readers are still prepared to pay an awful lot of money for all that lovely magazine content – week in, week out, month in, month out.”

McIlheney excoriates the digital ad frenzy, asking “which agency with half-a-brain and a beady eye on his client’s money is ever going to ignore that incredibly deep level of rich engagement and opt instead for popping up next to a ten-second clip of a monkey soiling itself on a skateboard? Any agency that makes that mistake should personally be forced to pay back the money they have just wasted to their client.”

“Is print dying? No. Will print ever die? No. And is now the best time ever to use that print base to build a greater all-platform audience than before? God, yes. So let’s get cracking.”