retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that after eight decades as a daily trade magazine covering the entertainment industry, it is shifting to a weekly print publication format as a glossy magazine, and moving to an PDF version for daily coverage that will be delivered to subscribers email addresses. The Reporter has been in trouble for some time, but it is only now that the company seems to accepting the inevitable.

I actually didn’t realize the extent to which the Hollywood Reporter management was in denial until I read the following on Wikipedia (which is, after all, the source of all knowledge):

“The Reporter...was slow to modernize. The paper still used vintage IBM-style selectric typewriters in several departments into the early 1990s and was sluggish in upgrading operations by adding common business equipment such as computers, scanners, and color printers to all departments. Archival materials were routinely microfilmed as late as 1998 rather than digitized, even though the system to view it was in storage or broken. Many staff members did not have email several years after its use became relatively common in business.”

I doubt that many food retailers are using IBM Selectrics; I cannot remember the last time I was in a store that did not have scanning, for example.

But that doesn’t mean that every company is embracing the future.

The issue in my mind is one of mindset. There are companies out there - and we all know their names - that are still fighting the last war, believing that they can cut their way to prosperity, thinking that somehow local roots or a long tradition give them the right to survive.

But survival is a privilege. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that lesson, though it could be too late.

As the legendary Norman Mayne, of Dorothy Lane Markets, once told me, it’s nice to be considered legendary...but his company has to go out and re-earn that description every day. Because legendary is what the company was yesterday.

Tomorrow is a whole different story.

That’s my Wednesday Eye-Opener.

- Kevin Coupe
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