Crossing the rubicon from print to digital

Monday’s Times has a feature on IDG, the trade publisher, making the successful transition from print to digital. (Actually, the company talked about crossing that bridge a year ago.) Says the Times:

The journey beyond print is uncertain and perilous, but the experience of I.D.G., the world’s largest publisher of technology newspapers and magazines, suggests that it can be done. A privately held company, whose magazines include Computerworld, InfoWorld, PC World, Macworld and CIO, it appears to have made a profitable migration to the Internet, with revenue from online ads now surpassing print revenue. . . .

“The excellent thing, and good news, for publishers is that there is life after print — in fact, a better life after print,” said Patrick J. McGovern, the founder and chairman of I.D.G. . . .

Stewart Alsop, a journalist turned venture capitalist, was the editor in chief of InfoWorld in the 1990s, when it was thick with ads and its editorial staff was at its peak. “Technology publishing just happens to be at the point of this whole transformation of media,” Mr. Alsop said. “What’s happening at I.D.G. is a fairly accurate map for every other publishing organization. Get over it, it’s going to happen.”

  • Digital revaluation in print media is worked well. Online readership is increased dramatically from the past three years. All the publishers are presenting their publications through online to attract the advertisers, increase the readers and generate the revenues. There are some companies like Pressmart Media providing the e-publishing solution for all print editions and distributing them through various new technology mediums.

  • I read this article with some incredulity. It reads more like a corporate brochure than a carefully-researched piece of journalism. First of all, IDG is privately held, so there’s no way to check into what’s been happening to the overall sales and profitability of the company in its transition to digital.

    Mr. McGovern states “The excellent thing, and good news, for publishers is that there is life after print — in fact, a better life after print,” and the major evidence offered is that “today, I.D.G. says, the InfoWorld Web site is generating ad revenue of $1.6 million a month with operating profit margins of 37 percent. A year earlier, when it had both print and online versions, InfoWorld had a slight operating loss on monthly revenue of $1.5 million.”

    OK on that…but what about before the dotcom bust? I’d be surprised if the profitability of the publication was not significantly higher.

    I applaud IDG on its bold moves, but wonder if Mr. McGovern doesn’t sometimes wish for the good old days before the Web.

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