Scott Karp: What magazines can learn from newspapers digital transition

From Scott Karp’s new Digital Media Blog on “But it’s not just competition that has created such huge disparities in pricing and media value. For most print publishers, the online pricing problem is, to a large degree, a self-inflicted wound from all of those years of giving online away as “added value” to advertisers paying top dollar for print ad pages. Publishers taught advertisers to devalue online, and now that advertisers are devaluing print, it’s hard to convince them that online is worth at least as much as print — if not more.”

A couple of nitpiks: I think it’s a stretch to equate, in an apples-to-apples way, a website visitor with a magazine reader. I think one could argue that doing so is like comparing a one-night stand to a meaningful relationship. More problematic is the attempt to compare (or, worse, to equate) top-line revenues of various forms of media. Perhaps if one had the ability to compare gross profit (after-cost-of-goods-sold), we may understand what the relative impact of the those shifting media dollars have on the bottom line of a media company.

Bottomline, I agree with Scott. By devaluing online first, and then devaluing print, there’s little business-model wiggle room. What’s left not to devalue? Events? Maybe putting on Flutag competitions still generates “un-devalued” revenue.