I’m not saying that Kelly’s enlightened point-of-view was necessarily earth-shattering or Nostradamus-like. But his comment still rings true today, particularly with BusinessWeek’s revelation that it will likely be sold.
Steve Forbes was recently quoted saying, “The lists are a gold mine… whether it's dead celebrities or the value of franchises or sports valuation" as a way to stay relevant and generate revenue. Rankings are exactly what U.S. News pioneered decades ago, and several years ago it started to make the shift from being a magazine with a Web site to a multiplatform digital publisher that also happens to have a magazine.
Unless you are The Economist (a whole other story), print dinosaurs should take a page from U.S. News for mining the golden opportunities associated with going vertical (healthcare, personal finance, education, etc.), and producing more targeted search-based consumer content by way of special reports, daily news updates, blogs, newsletters, rankings, guides, videos, and UGC, as well as developing lead generation businesses and partnerships to help attract and retain advertisers who will always be their economic lifeblood regardless of the platform being used.
Aaron R. Kwittken, CEO & Managing Partner, Kwittken & Co.