After having had a talk with one of our German homegrown publishing tycoons, my friend Ibo posted a comment on his Facebook, which lead to a lively discussion: the publisher did complain a bit about Google, sounding quite awestruck at the same time. How they delievered all those world-changing innovations, and how the publishers lost their grip.
Then, Ibo asked the guy about his Social Media budget for 2013. The publisher says: north of 300k€.
Which would be a lot of money to spend on, let’s say a toddler’s birthday bash. But maybe not as the Social Media budget for a publishing powerhouse. Or maybe it’s just fine. Or maybe Social Media is overrated anyway. So the online discussion goes back and forth.
But seriously, the scary thing is: as a news and magazine publisher, h
e should be already heavily invested in Social Media. His core business is to enable social communications. Only his technology stack seems a bit outdated: it scales nicely up, but not really down to the individual level.
See, publishers are not an editorial office with a print shop attached. Mostly, they feel other way round: a printing business, with extra value added by employing some pricey editors.
For both perspectives, the outlook is rather grim. If all you can contribute to society is either a pile of printed matter (the latter) or a dedicated staff of n producing a pile of paper on a regular basis (the former), you are already off track.
Publishing is the business of sounding off and shaping a public’s opinion. Sounds an awful lot like what you can accomplish with the online tools of the trade.
And the sad truth is: publishing houses are technologically challenged Social Media providers with an identity problem.