Digital revolution impacting PFW

Posted Sept. 23, 2012 @ 6 p.m.
Posted By Hub Arkush

One of the most common themes in the public discourse that swirls around us in America today is that perhaps at no time in our history have we been more in need of change, but change can be hard to accomplish and sometimes it comes with no small dose of debate. Most often it is not the changes we need that define us, it is our willingness to change and ability to adapt, recover and flourish that is the true measure of who we are and who we will be tomorrow.

Here at Pro Football Weekly the time has come for change. For more than 45 years our weekly print publication has been the starting point from which all of our content has emerged. But during that time the media business has changed dramatically, perhaps more so in the last four or five years than the prior 40, and now is the time to update that model to ensure we continue to be the leaders in our field. Effective immediately I am indefinitely suspending the printing of our weekly issues of PFW. We will continue to produce each issue of PFW, but they will be distributed exclusively via our digital platforms to your computers, tablets, e-readers and/or smartphones.

I want to emphasize that this decision has been reached after many months of research, budgeting, study and agonizing debate over the future of our industry. This is being done to improve our ability to provide you with “the Best Coverage in the NFL.” Other than freeing up resources to improve our products, this decision will have no impact on our annual NFL Preview magazine, Fantasy Football Guide, NFL Draft Guide magazine and NFL Draft Preview book, which we will continue to publish both digitally and in print. It also will allow us to focus our efforts on and our mobile phone applications, which will let us serve you best.

Over the past five decades we have strived to occupy a unique niche in the media business as a newsweekly as opposed to a weekly magazine. We provide the very best in review, preview, analysis, scouting and insider information on a weekly basis during the season, but a great deal of it is of little value to you if it doesn’t arrive in your mailbox by Thursday or Friday each week. With the current delivery methods available to us for the print product, we just can’t guarantee we can deliver it to you on time, and in today’s world of instant delivery from all the new technology that is available to us, we believe there is a better way to get you the content you crave. We already have built one of the best pro football websites and our new mobile phone and tablet applications are second to none. Now is the time for us to concentrate on bringing you all of our best-in-class NFL coverage in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are two things all of you, particularly our paid print subscribers should know. The first is to understand that making these changes now is going to allow us to adjust our production cycles and get you all of “the Best Coverage in the NFL” that we have always provided and a great deal more on a real-time basis 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The second, specifically for our print subscribers, is that we are going to do everything we possibly can to be sure you receive everything you’ve already paid for and more. We are finalizing our conversion plans and you each will be receiving a letter from us in the next week to 10 days explaining what your options are.

In the interim, every one of our print subscribers is already entitled to receive their entire subscription digitally as part of their subscription payment, so if you have not been accessing it to date, let us know how we can help.
One thing I must ask of our current subscribers is please do not call us to inquire about the conversion of your print subscription until you have received your letter. We are doing everything we can to be as responsive as possible now that we’ve made this decision and we just need a couple more days to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Those calls would only delay the process for everyone. Once you have received the letter, if you have any questions at all, our toll-free phone number will be available to all of you and we will assist you in any way we can.

I am extremely pleased to be able to report to you that this decision to focus all our efforts on our digital properties is going to pay immediate dividends for all of our subscribers with a great deal more timely, complete and up-to-date information. For many years now we have been forced to put each week’s edition of PFW to bed on Sunday night/Monday morning because we knew if we waited another 24 hours to include the Monday-night game and updated injury information from Sunday’s games that isn’t available until early Monday afternoon before we printed and shipped, we could never get the paper to you on time. This caused us to publish our digital editions by 6 p.m. on Monday nights, but neither edition had up-to-date injury info or individual and team stats that included the final game of the week.

Beginning next weekend, Week Four of the 2012 season, your digital issue of our PFW newsmagazine will be available to you on Tuesday afternoon every week and will include all the latest injury information, next-day reaction from every team to Sunday’s game and our statistics section will be completely up-to-date, including the Monday game, and available to you well in advance of its release by the league or any other media outlet. Another advantage of no longer having to work around restrictive print production, shipping and mailing restrictions is we will now be able to supplement each issue of PFW with a great deal more full-color photography, graphics and artwork to enhance your enjoyment every week.

Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank each of you for allowing us to bring you Pro Football Weekly over the past 45 years, and to tell you how excited we are to embrace the future and begin moving forward. This is our moment of change here at Pro Football Weekly and we are choosing to do all that we can to guarantee our ability to continue to bring you “the Best Coverage in the NFL” for the next five decades and beyond.