Early this year my old boss and friend John Reardon, CEO of the RTC Group, and I had it out on Rick Jamison’s Synopsys blog over the future of print vs. online journalism. While not quite accusing John of an atavistic attachment to dead trees (well, almost), I feel strongly that engineers in particular get almost all of their information online and that vendors who want to reach them are moving their money out of print and throwing it into banner ads, videos, webcasts, virtual conferences and social media marketing. The fact that you can reach a lot more readers online than any print magazine can deliver; that you can finely target your message to your audience; and that you can measure the results are compelling arguments vs. the mass market “push” advertising that supports print magazines.
On the other hand the noise level online is quite high, so it isn’t easy to get your message heard. As a result vendors aren’t willing to pay nearly as much for an online ad as for a print one. As a further result while the print publishing industry is imploding, online ads and media can’t come close to picking up the slack. Business plans for online media are in flux, and no one’s figured out to date (if you don’t count wallstreetjournal.com) how to build a really profitable–much less scalable–online magazine. John claims that print is and will remain King. I claim it’s a wonderful but diminishing resource that will find its niches and live there happily ever after.
Anyway, Karen Bartelson and Synopsys–with Rick moderating–are letting John and me revisit this debate next Monday at DAC in one of their Conversation Central sessions (1:30-2:00 PM PST). If you haven’t tuned in on Conversation Central before, Synopsys hosts a series of half-hour conversations at key trade shows on topics of interest to engineers. You can find directions on how to log in, call in or come in here. At Conversation Central you can also catch up with Ron Wilson, John Blyler, Yatin Trevedi, Harry the ASIC Guy and many other industry luminaries and ask them what they really think. Who knows, they may say something they’d rather not say in print!
I hope to see you there.