iPad's Impact: Publishing's 'Digital Talent Emergency' -Transformational Leadership Needed for Companies' Survival, Says Heidrick & Struggles
Apr 22, 2010, 10:30 ET
NEW YORK, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- "There is a digital talent emergency in publishing companies as they transform into full-blown, digitally-oriented media companies," says Lynne Seid, Partner in the Global Consumer Marketing Practice at leadership advisory firm Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII). "With 4 million people expected to own iPads within the year – on top of tablet devices coming from HP, Dell, and others – there will be a major reconfiguration of what will be necessary to serve these users."
"It's a mistake to think that you can simply bring in a 'new media' person who is fluent in that world without being grounded in the traditional publishing model – even if that model is exploding. Organizations need talent at the top that can bridge the old and new worlds. Right now, there is a gap between what companies need and the leadership available to build this bridge.
"Rather than looking for 'change agents,' companies need truly transformational leaders who can add on new capabilities to the organization. What this demands is a new category of skills to augment the ranks in magazine and newspaper publishers, however diminished they now are."
We're not in Kansas anymore – or in the newsroom: talent in an iPad world
"The implications of consumption's moving from print to digital devices will echo back into the publishing organization itself. Publishers will have to ask themselves whether they have the right structure and right talent for this new world.
"What is a 'publisher' in this new era? What is an 'editor'? What is a 'reporter'? Will the circulation chief become the new head of social media? Do we need strategic planning as a core competency in this rapidly evolving model? And, of course, how do we make money – and what are the pricing models? What is the 'head of sales' actually selling?
"In the digital space, we have already seen traditional job titles such as 'publisher' and 'editor-in-chief' give way to titles such as 'chief content officer' and 'chief creative officer.' Some publications are already merging their digital and print staffing. But what does that mean organizationally? As video and animation become a bigger component of online publishing, where does the traditional print organizational structure change to accommodate a new multimedia experience in an iPad world?
"Questions remain as to what these job functions actually mean, how much these jobs should pay, and, crucially, where these skills will come from."
A seismic shift
"As the iPad era collides with the recessed economy, the publishing industry is experiencing an earthquake on every level – from reporting to ad sales to circulation numbers to intellectual property ownership. This shift is forcing a new way of thinking about what it means to publish a newspaper or a magazine or a book. Talent must understand this dynamic process and position itself to be a part of this conversation, or these executives will simply have no place in the new world."
Lynne Seid heads up Heidrick & Struggles' digital marketing practice and also serves in the firm's global consumer practice. Coming from a senior management career in advertising and new media, Ms. Seid is the former president of Foote Cone & Belding New York.
If you would like to speak with Lynne Seid, please contact Davia Temin, Suzanne Oaks, or Elisabeth Behr of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or [email protected].
SOURCE Heidrick & Struggles
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