Thursday, March 4, 2010

Globe trotting through the media landscape

Milano, Thursday


After a long respite, I am back in Milano for a few days of business and reuniting with old friends. Though in some ways it feels like I have not been away a long time, I really have---almost a year and a half---which is not unusual in general terms except for the fact that Milano was almost like a second home for many years when I was consulting regularly with Mondadori, the largest magazine publisher here.

Unlike Dubai, which is refashioning itself every year, Milano is a traditional European commercial and financial center. Though in the process of righting itself after the global financial crisis, you would never know from its calm, unwelcoming exterior. On a cloudy, damp day like today, the streets, buildings, and sky seem to melt into a continuous shade of grey.

Have been prepping for a general media business review and catch-up with the head of the magazine group at my former client, and have had a chance to step back and look at the broad stroke metrics of the American market. Though have focused on the print magazine industry for the time being, the numbers are sobering: leading magazines measured by PIB down 33% in ad pages in 2009 vs 2008, on top of a 9% year over year decline in 08 vs. 07. Many brands you know well were off 40, 50% from the year before, which leaves us marveling at their survival into 2010. But not all---my former colleagues at OUT, for example, were down only 17% YOY. Down is the new up??

No one is planning for a return to the 'go go' years of 2006-07, but no one knows what 'normal' will look like when the recovery comes. Which complicates the lives of us media folk who specialize in forecasting and prognosticating and building plans for new brands or turnarounds of existing businesses.

The advertising downturn and the consequent layoffs have stripped the media industry of skilled people at all levels. Sad. But presents intriguing business opportunities. More on that soon.

1 comment:

  1. good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................