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New AudioMag: Bo Sacks on Reinventing Your Magazine

The Business Media Leadership Summit is being held February 6–7 in King City, just north of Toronto. The keynote speaker is Bo Sacks. Sacks is owner of the Precision Media Group and publisher of the Heard on the Web: Media Intelligence daily enewsletter. His roots in publishing run deep, having founded his first publication, an alternative newspaper, in New York in 1970.

He is a founding partner of High Times magazine, and former production director for such heavyweights as the New York Times and McCall’s magazine. Sacks has been inside the editorial, publishing and distribution ends of the business, something that has given him terrific perspective on the shifting landscape of publishing.

Age of Disruption

“Every business is being disrupted right now, and if yours isn’t being reinvented then someone else will reinvent your business for you,” says Sacks in the latest episode of AudioMag. “We need to constantly re-evolve—every two years you need to re-examine what your company is—how we’re doing and where we’re going. And that is going to cause internal strife. There is no easy street from now on. It’s got to be a continual process of reassessment or we’re not going to be around anymore.”

Sacks’ days in production make him well aware of the constraints of the physicality of making and distributing a magazine.

Losing those constraints in a digital environment, Sacks says, can bear fruit for publishers who know how to target and reach readers who want to read what they have to offer.

Global Reach

“If we allow ourselves, we are no longer constrained by that delivery problem,” he says. “Whatever it is you can reach out on a global basis. You can reach anybody anywhere at any time and sell them your words, your thoughts, your product.”

Sacks says that although publishers throughout the world are making tough calls and closing some titles, many opportunities exist for those who can connect with a dispersed audience in a digital environment.

“We’re at a period of information overload,” says Sacks. “And just because there is more information available doesn’t mean we have the time or skill to consume that. But whatever your title is, there are people all over the globe who are already interested in it. A global perspective is to reach out to those unique and interested readers. They are out there and they are on the internet and with a digital infrastructure, geography is meaningless.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Bo Sacks.

Register for the Business Media Leadership Summit.

Find more episodes of AudioMag in our resource centre. AudioMag is available to download and subscribe on iTunes.

AudioMag is produced by Tina Pittaway, an award-winning independent writer and broadcaster. Tina has been a contributor to CBC Radio and Television for more than 20 years. Her radio documentaries have been honoured with a 2007 Gabriel Award, 2008 Amnesty International Media Award, 2009 Gold Medal at the New York Festivals and a Science in Society Award from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. Visit Tina online to learn more about her work.

Know someone in the industry who would be interested in receiving AudioMag? Send us an email at info@magazinescanada.ca and we’ll add them to our list. Or sign up for our RSS feeds on magazinescanada.ca or on iTunes.

AudioMag is made possible with the support of the OMDC.

Ontario Media Development Corporation   

Magazines Canada acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as the Canada Council, for this project.

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