InfoWorld: the beginning of the end?

March 26, 2007 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Wow. I have to say that I was a little shocked when I heard the news that venerable, 29-year old trade publication InfoWorld is closing its print edition. To be clear: “InfoWorld is not dead. We’re not going anywhere. We are merely embracing a more efficient delivery mechanism –the Web — at InfoWorld.com.”

Why? Because advertisers prefer the more immediate results, deeper targeting and better tracking of the online publication. It seems that many print editions these days are just storefronts for their online counterparts – or as Owen Thomas puts it, “on life support, on the theory that the print edition adds brand awareness and gravitas to the websites.” Owen also has a theory about why, out of the IDG stable, InfoWorld’s print title was chosen for the chop: “Computerworld, InfoWorld’s longtime internal rival, is IDG founder and chairman Pat McGovern’s baby, the original title on which he built his tech-publishing empire.”

Perhaps this is a sad but inevitable day. Especially in the tech world, many readers prefer to consume news online, and many of them probably streamline their reading by using Google alerts or keyword searches to find the stuff they’re interested in. All very efficient, but, as Seth Grimes puts it, it eliminates “the opportunity for accidental discovery” that flicking through a physical publication provides. And I’ve got to agree with InfoWorld editor-in-chief Steve Fox that “it’s hard to beat a magazine for its tactility and visceral thrill.” That said, I do a lot of reading in my job, and the only magazine I subscribe to is Vanity Fair. I can’t imagine ever reading those 5000-word articles online, but maybe I’m wrong…

Rumor of Infoworld’s folding caused a flurry of debate over the future of the mainstream media this weekend. For a summary, check out Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim.

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Step away from the keyboard A peek behind the PR curtain

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