In all industries today, staffs are getting leaner, with more work given to remaining staff. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ink-on-paper magazine world.
While traditional magazines create the brands that drive their digital editions and websites, the digital world will garner the advertising dollars of tomorrow. Magazines only will survive this economic slump if they have the foresight to evolve into media companies serving a specific community with common interests—and do so on a multimedia platform.
Staff needs will be weighted toward departments responsible for bringing in revenue. So what do we, the ink-on-paper people, do to reduce costs, stretch budgets, and still maintain quality and brand image? We outsource.
Before joining any consortium (whether a publisher such as Dwell or outsourcing vendors benefiting from consortium arrangements, such as Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Superior Media Solutions), determine how the consortium sustains itself. Does it charge membership fees or mark-up vendor pricing? Does it keep (or take a share of) the quick-pay discount offered by some printers and most paper brokers, or offer any caps and/or guaranteed longevity on paper pricing?
Answers to these questions will help you determine if the fiscal benefits of a consortium really outweigh the costs. I think you will find, in most instances, that they do.