Canadian Magazine Industry News
3 June 2009,     TORONTO
Mags U Review, part one: "It's all just media"
As editor-in-chief of PC Magazine, Jim Louderback did everything he could to make the magazine relevant: he redesigned it, added higher quality photography and more in-depth stories, and made it easy to scan. None of that was enough. Louderback presided over a 34% drop in ad pages the year he was in charge and at the beginning of 2009, parent company Ziff-Davis shuttered the print edition of the magazine. The lesson, according Louderback: "Sometimes, you just have to give up."

Jim Louderback
Louderback, who is now CEO of Revision3, an Internet television company, was a keynote speaker at Magazines University on Monday.
Although PC Magazine went the way of the dodo in January, PCMag.com lives on as a viable, profitable business, according to Louderback. "Go where the audience is," he preached.

While he believes that media companies need to make their products available on multiple platforms, Louderback is also a proponent of playing to the strength of each medium. "If you're making a magazine, make it a great magazine."

And while he couldn't be described as a print doomsayer, he is certainly a Web evangelist. "The history of media is not that a new medium comes out and makes the others go away," he said. "It just changes it."

He offered the analogy of "avoiding the cowpath;" instead of taking the shortest distance to the new feeding area, cows tend to taker the long route by passing over their old munching grounds. According to Louderback, when media companies take exisiting products and try to slap them onto new media, they are taking the cowpath.

Key quote:

"We had this conceit in traditional media that we owned the audience, that they come to us and we won't share them with anybody else; that we're the experts and nobody else really matters. That's all gone. The audience today wants it anywhere and any time. They not only want to be in control of how and where they consume your media, they want to be part of it."
— M.U.
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