Special Report: Publishing Business Conference and Expo 2012: Excellence and Innovation Take Center Stage
None of this, Quittner says, diminishes the content creator's role, because distribution and the development of the technology behind it has never been central to publishing's mission.
Quittner pointed out that up to 50 percent of the costs incurred by newspapers and magazines go to distribution, a challenge to which Carr added the difficulty of obtaining new readers. Quittner said Flipboard can help overcome both these hurdles. "The New York Times should … be everywhere, and do deals with the Flipboards of the world, and Pulse, and Zite and Facebook and Tumblr and everybody else. Because where once you controlled distribution, now you don't anymore. But that turns out to be a relatively easily solvable problem if you open up your content, if you atomize it, if you let it go anywhere [readers go] to find relevant articles and you have great advertising against it."
Asked about Flipboard's business model, Quittner said that the plan is to be profitable through ad sales. "If you guys sell ads, we'll do OK," he said. "We eat after you do."
Quittner argued that partnerships between content producers and platform providers are the surest way to ensure the health of publishing going forward.
"The reality is, it's happening," he said of the move to digital. "And the question is, what are you going to do to survive, and what are you going to do to thrive? The thing that I love about Flipboard's model is, we don't survive unless you survive." BB