interviewed in a story on 'InfoWorld Leads Way as IDG Goes Head-First on Web' from Mark Glaser at MEDIASHIFT:
Just one take from interview:
Glaser: "You’ve been in technology journalism almost from the start, so you’ve seen a lot of changes. How profound is the change brought by the Internet?"
McGovern: We’ve made an interesting re-definition about what business we’re in. We always thought of ourselves as [print] publishers who did websites and conferences. Now the website typically has a bigger audience than print, and it’s growing much more rapidly. We used to be a publishing company with ancillary websites and events, but now we’re a web-centric information company, and we have ancillary activities like print publications and events.
That’s a big change, because in the past, we’d have a meeting with our publishing heads, and we’d talk about all the trends online — the growth in revenues and growth in audience. And advertisers were saying they were getting better ROI in online advertisements. The future, and most of our revenue by 2020, will be online. And the publishers would nod their head, and go back to their office and get four or five urgent messages on their desk about IBM cancelling print ads, ‘Could you rush out and have dinner with the IBM head to convince them not to do that? We got another call from Microsoft and they’re cutting back as well.’
They have to fight all these fires because of print, and you have to protect that, prevent that from eroding too quickly. As they were spending their time protecting history, they weren’t investing as much and getting the right people online. Now we’re redefining the business to say your website is your primary business, and you can do print if it has a clear and useful purpose.
In the past when we’d launch a new subject, we’d launch it as a new magazine, and put millions of dollars into selling subscriptions, and go out and get people to buy advertising. Today we would put it out as a website, publicize it to get a lot of visitors, use viral marketing, get people to come back and say it’s a great site. And through newsletters and webcasts, we can get a lot of registered information on the users.
When we get 50,000 or 60,000 registered users, we can take a random sample of those and ask, ‘Would you like a magazine or a newspaper on the subject? Is so, what frequency and what format and how much would you pay for it?’ And if there’s enough demand we could go to the advertisers and say, ‘Here’s the audience, here’s their buying power, would you be interested in buying advertising in a print publication?’ ..."
My heading for this article would have been 'InfoWorld Follows the Way IDG Goes Head-First on Web' - a Way Others should consider too!
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