Like the great All Black captain Richie McCaw will do after this Rugby World Cup, I'm hanging up my boots - as a journalist.
It's indulgent to align oneself in the same sentence with McCaw but I just did. Apologies to the purists. (And yes, yes, to the pot stirrers on yellow cards et al).
But many will be stoked about my exit. I've rubbed many industry folk with lashings of salt since I started covering the media, advertising and marketing sectors - and the later arrival of the tech masters - back in 1993.
I caught the tail end of the riot which typified the industry back then. I saw more riots during the dotcom-to-bubble-to-bust era. And some.
But the economics of journalism - be it trade titles or mainstream news media - is challenged. We know it's not about audience demand for the content. For all those busting for the establishment to bust, AdNews, like mainstream news media (I’ve been fortunate to write simultaneously for both during the past 20 years) is seeing record audiences across print and digital platforms. The challenge is audience economics, not audiences.
The numbers are going the wrong way. There are finer minds than I who have laid out how this came to be but we're there. Text-led publishing is in high audience demand but has a fractured business model. That means it’s harder to invest in the 'product'. In this instance we're talking journalism as we have known it, whether business, industry or mainstream.
Nothing new in that, of course, but it’s increasingly acute. So with that as the backdrop, I'm shifting to something a little different - producing industry content around the broadcast and digital video sector for MCN.
Of course, like every media sector which invests in content, there are thrilling competitive headwinds for audio visual media in distribution and the economics of content creation. But TV, in its broadest definition spanning any screen or platform, remains the global industry hot spot. So I'm going to dive in and find out. I hope to do what any good (ex) journalist does: challenge a few myths and bubbles and contribute to informed, constructive debate among brand marketers, agencies, media and tech. But it will be done a little differently to how I’ve done it for a couple of decades.
A few industry heavies who’ve already caught wind of my move from AdNews and the Financial Review, effective today, have already pinged a few comments: "Sell out,” they say, somewhat tongue in cheek. “The fourth estate will never be the same."
I'll cop a bit of that for a while, no doubt. But the new MCN gig will let me do what I like best - think, look at the big picture and then try to unravel what it means. Or at least, what disparate parts of the industry think it all means. It could all go horribly pear-shaped. Or it could be really fascinating. I'm banking on the latter.
So to my colleagues at AdNews and the Yaffa family, thankyou. It was 17 years ago I started as an AdNews contributor. That Yaffa Publishing remains an Australian, independent, family-owned publisher with more than 30 print and digital titles spanning consumer and trade, is testament to some serious commitment and prudent management. Many, many others have gone. More will. And trade publishing will remain sought after for its output, even if monetisation makes it a tougher business.
Some of the noisy, newer players are finding that out the hard way despite all their 'new world' hubris and swagger. But Yaffa Publishing will figure it out and continue its 80 year AdNews legacy. Indeed, it already is. Just less one grumpy journo. The AdNews editorial team is a very talented bunch led by editor Rosie Baker. They're smart, extremely hard working, tech savvy, hungry and ridiculously young (although Rosie is allegedly in her 30s). Their talent is showing up in AdNews’ audience numbers.
Keep it up team while this dog jumps through some new hoops. But enough said. It’s over and out from this scribe for now. Stay curious.
You can find all contact details for the AdNews editorial team here, or email email@example.com.