This turned really long, but I believe it will be quite helpful. It has 4 themes: 1) Realizing what is happening, 2) what you are going to lose, 3) why this is happening and 4) at least one suggestion to turn it around.
I was also involved heavily in this industry, there's no two ways about it, you have to realize this isn't 'business as usual' any longer. The Internet is a revolution from print just as cars were from horses. Print won't be around a decade longer, and it's only embraced by those who still remember the old ways. Kids don't even bother, and older people are getting worse eye sight :)
If you don't adapt, you'll die. Frankly, you have already adapted too slowly. I think a lot of us sit back in amusement or get steamed about how slowly media is adapting to our wants.
While I understand the pain of such a brutal change, believe me, I made my money in media as well then went to nothing.. I had plenty of time to think about it, Even while I tried to adapt as my sales hit around 50%, it was still way too slow. (Mine died in 2 years, stopped making money in 4-5, but basically dead within 2)
As soon as the Internet was developed, you should have been trying to get on it, as should have I more-so. Now you're so far behind you are basically asking how to keep your old customers, and the Internet won't matter much. Time is doing pay for their mags and get online free which is fine, but they are still struggling getting new subscribers. For new customers, you need a whole new business model. They have grown up with free information, and 'worse', the belief that information ought to be free. If it is just information that is. What can you bring them they want to pay for? it won't be opinions and reports. They get that for free now, how will you convince them your opinions and reports are worth paying money for (and even a bigger stretch, worth paying what you previously had expected people to pay!)? You yourself can see everyone else adapting slowly but still dying. They aren't asking the right questions. They aren't seeing how the Internet is revolutionizing the world and how to contribute to it. You know you're dead when you're not trying to figure out your customers anymore, and instead stuck in the mindset of how do we 'make people stay with us'. We come from evolution, we either help progress the 'field' or we die. For some periods of time sure we can gain a foothold on the market with one innovation, but all innovations come to and end. Media had a really long run, they were the very few who were able to just do the same thing over and over again and in the process completely forgot how to innovate.
This is just how it is, there's no incentive to know what's going on anymore as in old times - the internet is truly making people more individuals. They don't care what you or I think is cool, they care only about their peers and their interests. This is why media is evolving into Niche markets.
Print is already dead in younger generations, and they are paying customers next year.The internet wasn't on until I was in college, and it was an instant sell to everyone in my age group. No one had to tell us, we all knew it and saw it's potential (hence the dot com boom). Cloaked in this revolution of information, are several residual effects, for example, water cooler talk has changed. It's not Seinfeld against Friends any longer, it's Game of Thrones -vs- Kardashians -vs- X-Games -vs- 1000 other programs.. I'm sure Radio stations wondered what they were going to do when TV started broadcasting. Some realized they must be on TV. But this is even potentially a bad analogy, as radio still has a use to exist (though an *incredibly* diminished one). Print media really does not. Before e-readers, yes, because it wasn't as easy to read, but with e-readers and with the growing problem of waste, storing heavy books, shipping times, environmentally friendlier (which will only get friendlier and friendlier as population grows and resources decline), etc, electronic media is what it will simply be, period. If you want to have a business, you need to start a new one and some revolutionary thinking like Amazon and Netflix are doing with TV.. Big TV is also struggling and hanging on thinking that they can do something to save it. They cannot, and because they are being slow to change, Netflix and Amazon are grabbing larger and larger portions of their markets.
You guys are supposed to be business men. The best businessmen, the Steve Jobs, are innovators. You can't just try to 'save' what you've been doing, you must figure out what people truly WANT, and if you're lucky you'll find a way to make money in the process.
But the fact is media is going to make a lot less money than before and it's simple economics. It's cheaper, and the supply is much much higher (blogs by experts, or cheap video (youtube)) , and the demand will not change or even decrease depending on how you look at it.
I'm sure you've heard many times that it is dying, but hopefully there's some insight here as to why. If you already know this then there's only one problem left, and that's denial. Because of such a long run, that's what life becomes and most involved in such a steady business surely aren't ready for complete revolutions all at once. But think about the economics, think about the future, and remember this happened to me - a dot com start-up guy, and realize you guys need to make huge jumps in thinking immediately.
All is not lost!
All is not lost though, I sit around and think about things like this a lot, and have many suggestions if you are interested. I will name one - think about how Google is solving debugging their software now. They are doing contests. This isn't just for fun, this saves them a couple full time employees a year, it does a better job in finding *and* patching problems, it gets them free press. This model of opening up to the masses is a great model, and one you must adapt to if you are an Intenet related company (and even those who aren't should embrace it's power). You may want to open source or start recruiting popular bloggers. You need that young generation, and they are already following not you. You can have current staff touch things up perhaps or start to advertise them as interesting people or have them start taking a more active editing roles for the new people coming in.