Print: From Disruption to Experimentation and Beyond

CDS Global’s Malcolm Netburn gave the keynote address at the recent IDEAAlliance PRIMEX East conference, and BoSacks reprinted Netburn’s remarks in his blog. In his speech, Netburn took a realistic look a print’s evolving role in the media mix, and put forward a bold new idea on the true power of print to a brand’s overall strategy.

He calls it “experimentation,” in which content is delivered “in flexible, mixed distribution networks that actually address the many differing and changing needs of our consumers.”

From his address:

“Disruption is a term that we have been hearing constantly in our business. Let me be the first to declare this age of disruption over. You can stick a fork in it – it’s done.

“In the age of disruption, common wisdom declared the magazine dead. Specifically, we were told consumers weren’t reading print magazines anymore. They were obsolete because of their fixed, non-interactive format. So, the age of disruption has been our Dark Age. And it is now giving way to become the age of our Renaissance. If I may be so bold, I would like to label it the age of experimentation. Experimenting in creation of a full content ecosystem, replete with print, Web, mobile, apps and more – more that are emerging and more that we haven’t yet even conceived. And if we are bold, if we seize the moment, this is our time. This could be our golden age.”

“In this age of experimentation, content is delivered in flexible, mixed distribution networks that actually address the many differing and changing needs of our consumers. Our audiences can seamlessly digest content from one format to another, with technology and tools that help lead them to more of the content they are interested in. We call that distribution agnostic.”

Netburn presents a great model for publishers to aspire to, one that offers plenty of room for creativity and innovation. And with that freedom come new opportunities for errors and missteps, as we try to make sense of the new dynamics of print and its place in the communication process.

Netburn advocates for the adoption of strong standards and processes to help navigate these uncharted waters, something we can all agree is a likely to produce more sustainable and supportable results.

Read the complete text of Netburn’s keynote address; it’s definitely worth your time to help understand publishing’s new possibilities.