The media transformation has been progressing at such a radical rate that it’s hard to remember that we are still just in its infancy.  The big themes have been set out, the framework of the transition has been outlined, but the media marketplace still lacks the certainty in business models that give the creators, managers and owners of media the security of knowing what “next” looks like.

At the American Magazine Conference a couple of weeks ago, Andreesen Horowitz’ Ben Horowitz sounded the death knell for print, but heralded the expansion of opportunity for media:

“There is going to be a new business for us,” said Horowitz. “Anytime you change businesses, or go into the innovation business, the horrifying thing about it is you think you’re right but you don’t really know—you may well fail.”

That’s a summary of the future that can be too easily tossed into the pile of “bad things that will happen to good publishers” truisms that have been declared in then past 10 years.

The reality is that inside the media industry there are pockets of successful innovation that demonstrate what kind of thinking needs to be applied to make a transition.

Matt Yorke of IDG Solutions presents a simple framework that can guide any publisher’s conversation about what to do.

We still talk today about managing to profit. It’s a great mantra, and it captures how we think about digital versus print. Over time we knew that print was going to continue to decline, and its relevance to us would be diluted, even if it was hard to accept. Managing to profit means you should be putting greater focus on your resources for your digital business.
–Matthew Yorke, President, IDG Solutions

If you take Yorke’s framework into strategy, planning and budget meetings, you’ll quickly generate a different kind of discussion.  With one caveat:  You have to know how you are currently making money, how your customers current make money, and how you can bridge the gap to new ways of making money.

The only way to acquire that knowledge is for the financial, business and product leaders of the company to collaborate.