Print/TV Synergy May Be Gone, But Other Synergies Survive

News Corp., Time Warner, and now Tribune Company have -- or are in the process of -- saying goodbye to their print media businesses by spinning off those units. And many are ringing the death knell for synergy.

Actually, only one kind of synergy is affected: the old kind.

Back in the late ‘80s and well into the ‘90s, much was made about the ways media companies built on movies and TV could work together with print. Synergy was on every marketer’s lips. Did you want an Entertainment Weekly TV news show or segment? Why not? Could you take a Martha Stewart magazine and spin off some TV program? Sure.

Back then, media executives would talk about all the print “content” that could help develop and grow TV and film businesses. Now many media executives talk about content only when it comes to TV or film -- in regards to what it can do for digital platforms.



That’s where the new synergy comes in for TV and film: digital platforms, online, mobile, social media and traditional video-on-demand.

Some critics may argue that online -- at least in its early days and even now for many websites -- is print-focused, not video-focused. The key is electronic/digital delivery of that content, which works hand and hand with the way TV and film have developed. In that regard, I don’t think that you’ll be seeing media companies spinning off their old traditional TV/film businesses from their newer digital businesses anytime soon.

This is not to say print businesses aren’t finding their own synergistic way with the digital world. It’s just a different animal -- and for some a slow-moving animal.

All this is interesting when it comes back to that all-important word “content.” Turns out not all content is all that valuable for some. This goes not just for traditional print platforms, but for all those opinion-only blog sites which might not be as useful as people once believed.

Digital platforms have a new panache -- the ability to create new media platforms, like social media, that can hype TV and movies. Can print do that? In part. Synergy may be passe; now we call it cross-media, integrated media; 360-degree media; convergent media; or transformative media to name a few. A couple of decades from now, maybe we won’t even be calling it media.

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