Time’s Pearlstine on Print and the Future

[responsive]timemag[/responsive]Some may call it unnerving or even terrifying. But Time Inc.’s EVP Norman Pearlstine is “just exhilarated by the speed with which this business is changing, by the challenges we have, and by the uncertainties, by an absolute belief that we will continue to create great products that tell stories that address the needs of passionate audiences.”

Pearlstine made those comments in a one-on-one interview with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni last week, which Husni recaps for us with highlights.

Among the pearls from Pearlstine: “We may change the (publishing) model in different ways; we may become more sophisticated about printing and delivering content by zip code or by ways in which our readers define themselves, but I think that there’s still a robust market for print having had such a long tradition of creating content.”

His own history in the business is the stuff of legends, having worked at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal among others. He is, says Husni, “a man who knows more about the business than most have forgotten.”

Even so, Pearlstine was taken by surprise at how quickly mobile has been adopted as a platform.

“I believe mobile has come farther and faster and is more significant than certainly any of us thought, say, around 2007 or 2008, when we were thinking about the future of our business. To me, mobile is going to be increasingly a video experience,” he notes.

Yet digital or mobile will not replace print.

“I believe print will continue to be an important part of Time Inc. for the foreseeable future. Never is a long time. I do think that it is very possible that advertising support for print will continue to be under pressure, but I do believe there will continue to be an audience for a printed product who will be willing to pay for that delivery system,” Pearlstine says.

He continues, explaining that “we have hundreds of millions of people around the world who still rely on it and appreciate its affordability; who actually like having an editor make determinations of what’s important or what’s entertaining and who are willing to pay a fair price for that content.”

The full transcript of Husni’s interview with Normal Pearlstine is a great read, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.