MEI shuts down suddenly after 28 years in publishing

In a seemingly sudden move, MEI opened the year by officially announcing that the company was filing for dissolution. In an official statement sent to current MEI clients, chairman Lee Silverman stated that “After almost three decades of strong success, MEI has confronted difficult financial challenges that forced the company to cease many of its operations this month… the current plan is to wind down daily operations and work closely with our quality partners and other system integrators to transition customer relations and support for long-term success.”

“MEI has confronted difficult financial challenges that forced the company to cease many of its operations this month.”

This is significant news in the publishing arena, as MEI (formally Managing Editor Inc.) has a long history in publishing, particularly with its status as the product developer of TruEdit, and the major North American distributor and software integrator for vjoon K4 software and Twixl Publisher. With a current list of clients that include Condé Nast, The Washington Post, National Geographic, and the Los Angeles Times, this is a significant event in a tumultuous decade in digital publishing.

Twixl Media responded by announcing the termination of their partnership agreement with MEI. In an email to current clients, Marketing Manager Laurent Gerniers states,“We were recently informed that MEI filed for dissolution at the end of last month. Consequently we have decided to terminate our partnership agreement with them… this situation has no impact at all on your current Twixl subscription, everything will keep on working like it has automatically. Our company is not affected by this situation, so there is no impact on the continuity of our own activities. When the time comes to renew your current subscription, you will be able to deal with Left Right Media that will be in direct contact with us now. That way we can guarantee you continuity.”

We’ve worked with MEI almost since our inception. As independent publishers and developers in Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing Suite), AEM (Adobe Experience Manager) Mobile, and later Twixl Publisher, our expertise and reputation for innovation has long been valued as a trusted custom development partner. We regard Mark Wasserman, former General Manager of MEI, as a dear friend and someone who we’ve grown with as the publishing industry has adapted to the announcement of the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010.

The release of the iPad, in particular, was a milestone that signified the start of the digital publishing revolution. Consumers in pursuit of an experience showcased by digital magazines designed in Adobe DPS, and publishers excited to deliver that experience through a re-imagination of their products, created the two-way demand needed to ignite the movement. Adobe, as the software developer of the primary tools both in the print and digital space (Adobe InDesign and Digital Publishing Suite), was in the best position get this right. To its fault though, Adobe never understood the magazine industry enough to figure out a solution that would seamlessly bridge and unify publisher’s content development workflows. Publishers on the other hand, with their small teams, tight budgets, and promise to deliver content according to an inflexible release schedule, would be too constrained to invest in the resources necessary to develop a maintainable workflow. In the advent of mobile web, mobile content, and social media, there simply was too much for publishers to react to and test – especially in a climate of dramatically declining revenue – to get it all right. This is why so many publishers (and the software companies that developed solutions for them) have closed, failed, merged, or downsized their operations in the past eight years.

“Left Right Media is looking forward to continuing support for all of our current clients on Twixl and for those needing support through the dissolution of MEI.”

Fortunately, the industry has slowly started to settle on a few reliable models for the holy grail of success in both print and digital monetization. Those who have made it work have managed to develop successful new products, subscription tiers, workflow automations, and their own community of demand. Most notably, the successful ones were able to build a new organization workflow complete with new roles and responsibilities to their companies through their own direction or through partnerships with key creative partners like Left Right Media.

Having been a part of it all (as both publishers and solution-providers) we are here to help content creators who are still navigating these waters – especially in light of the new solutions they may need given Adobe DPS’s approaching end of life this August, and the sudden closure of MEI. For cross-channel publishers in need of an app distribution channel, we believe that Twixl Publisher remains as the only viable market solution priced for small and medium-sized publishers and enterprises (a great option for those needing to migrate from Adobe DPS). We are looking forward to continuing support for all of our current clients on Twixl and for those needing support in integration, design, custom development, training, and/or workflow optimization for Twixl through the dissolution of MEI

We know however, that every company is unique, in need of their own solutions set within their own constraints and dependencies. So, please reach out to our team below if you’re looking for answers or migration support and we can discuss the options that might be best for you. Our goal is to help everyone maintain their current content release cycle, and we are working closely with our network to be able to respond to this news at scale. 

If on the other hand, you are a growing company and looking to hire a person or team with great experience in the industry, from engineers to developers to account executives to general managers, a tip I’d offer you is to do a search on LinkedIn for anyone who has been employed at MEI. There’s a stellar talent pool out there that I would vouch for, and would be delighted to provide personal recommendations for.

 




Chris Perez
CEO / Creative Director, Left Right Media

 

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Showing 3 comments
  • Robert Baldwin
    Reply

    Chris, as a founder of MEI — Dennis, Dan and I created it with a handshake in September 1989 as we ate lunch across from the McGraw Hill building in NYC — I have to tell you what a touching and well articulated paean you have penned to the loss of innocence in an era of disruption.

    This was sudden for all of us following the takeover of the company in October, 2017, and, as you note, there are a bunch of people with decades of experience and deep industry knowledge kicked unwillingly to the beach. Each would make a welcome addition to anyone’s team. (If anyone’s looking to hire the creator of our publishing products — starting with ELS, ALS, CLS and beyond, call me!)

    Again, thank you for penning this, it will be one of the few reminders that something wonderful this way came and as quickly disappeared into the dark of night.

    Bob Baldwin
    Founder/SVP MEI

    • Chris Perez
      Reply

      Bob, it means a lot to me to know you read this, and to hear your kind words. It’s fascinating to hear the contrast between how things started then (a handshake and trust) to how it ended.

      I hope this was able to bring some awareness to the talent pool available, and I hope this closed door presents many new ones to everyone affected.

  • Jose Muniz
    Reply

    Sorry to use the article as a means of communication, but does anyone have information on the status of their cloud offering, TruEdit? Myself and another user are currently trying to figure out how to handle this newfound info (it seems not all MEI’s customers were notified). Especially when we rely on the system on a daily basis.

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