Earlier today IDG and InfoWorld’s management announced the closure of InfoWorld’s print publication in order to focus our colleagues energies on the distribution of IT information via online and events. The last edition of InfoWorld will be 2nd April.
InfoWorld has spent the last few years aggressively pushing in non-print directions resulting in us being in a place where the InfoWorld brand will thrive for many years to come.
Recently InfoWorld’s revenue has been predominantly driven by its online and events business. Print no longer is the major product line at InfoWorld. So while the closure of a 27-year print publication is somewhat newsworthy, it is also a natural step in a plan that was put in place 2 years ago.
This move was discussed extensively with all our key marketers who keenly support InfoWorld’s strategy. The reality is that high-tech marketers are rapidly shifting their marketing investment to online and events, while they choose fewer print publications.
There is a definite "flight to quality" as advertisers select fewer brands. IDG has a number of leading brands and these are doing relatively well in print. In the future these print publications will evolve and adjust with the times in terms of design, trim size, and circulation but through all these future changes, we will continue to keep our eyes focused on the needs of readers and advertisers.
There are observations from InfoWorld's Editor in Chief, Steve Fox and from Virginia Hines, General Manager of InfoWorld's Online initiatives.
Some external blog commentary on InfoWorld’s move can be found at Dave Winer’s Scripting News and at Forbes on Tech Plus Matt McAlister’s Blog. Matt, an ex-InfoWorld staffer, is a good friend and colleague and his piece is overall very positive on the changes, but there is one comment with which I strongly disagree.
“IDG has been a deer in the headlights of the Internet 18-wheeler for years. “
Just not true. Over the last few years IDG’s management has pursued a determined and well thought through approach to change our organization.
Pat McGovern, IDG’s Chairman has been reinforcing IDG’s web centric approach, especially around the engagement of our communities. Most recently in an interview with Forbes.
Bob Carrigan, President of IDG Communications has publicly articulated our strategy on numerous occasions
And I've written extensively about IDG's transformation to an organization that is web centric which now has 35% of its US revenues coming from digital sources .
Print advertising has been declining for years and will likely continue to decline. However, despite the downturn in print advertising, IDG is coming off of one of the best years in its history. Why? Because we are executing well on a strategy that we have been talking about publicly and openly now for some time:
We are managing print for profit as we push aggressively into non-print businesses such as online and events including our mobile test with mDog
The sheer size of our non-print businesses is testament to the strengths of our brands and our online strategy.
I’m the first to admit we are on a long journey and there is still much to be done to realize this vision. It’s not easy for organizations to fundamentally change from their legacy roots. Paul Conley documents some of the internal training and issues with which we are dealing.
While it's hard sometimes to face reality and to deal with massive change, the mark of true leadership is to provide the strategy and vision for growth; to take our organization through these turbulent market shifts with compassion and understanding for those directly impacted.
Sam Whitemore summed it up well in his article:
Like all IDG titles, InfoWorld for years has been working on a print-to-online transition. The title’s big moneymakers are events and online. InfoWorld has several online projects unfolding – InfoClipz animations, podcasts and video, careers and the IT Exec-Connect community – all of which now stand to gain higher budgets without print in the picture. IDG’s decision should not affect the river of news flowing to InfoWorld.com from the IDG News Service. For tech PR pros, this news does mean that “pitching a story” is increasingly vestigial language. PR should accept online tech content in all its variety, and develop new ways to serve the decision-makers they wish to influence.
Scott Karp observes
… if InfoWorld can make the transition from print publishing to online publishing without going out of business, without diminishing its value to readers, and without laying off a lot of people, it will prove to the rest of the publishing industry that folding the print publication does not mean folding the business.
Today is a historic one for IDG and I’m proud to be a member of a company that is taking such bold steps as part of a continuing strategy to transform our organization.
Howard Sholkin, IDG's Director of Corporate Communications who can be contacted at email@example.com (617) 239-7882 will handle requests for additional information.