End of an era: Telecom trade press struggling
If you are holding the current print issue of Telephony magazine and turning pages to read the articles and columns, consider this: You have in your hands what indeed may be an endangered species in today's market.
Within the past few weeks, two of our print competitors in the telecom trade press have ceased all print operations, and one such operation — RCR Wireless — has closed down altogether. Now, the only remaining U.S. telecom trade publications — aside from Telephony — are online only, or address specific niches within telecom. (The demise of RCR Wireless, in particular, was a shock because of all our competitors, it was the strongest journalistically.)
Why is this happening? A lack of advertising support.
Some advertisers believe that print is irrelevant and that what counts is online advertising, where every click can be measured and where sales leads can be generated more directly. That reality, coupled with the current economic downturn, has meant dwindling revenues for print publications. That has, in turn, translated into dwindling resources, human and otherwise, and other efforts to cut operating costs.
We continue to produce a robust online product — telephonyonline.com — and, as many of you may have already noticed, there is considerable overlap between the print and online segments of the Telephony brand. (Along with other Penton Media publications, we have adopted a Web-first stance, recognizing that this is how many of our readers get their information.) That approach is one way we can use our diminished resources to produce both a high-quality Web site and a high-quality magazine.
And when I say “high-quality,” I mean original reporting by experienced and talented journalists, based on extensive conversations with the top telecom minds. We strive for reporting that is multisourced and original. We are not writing short summaries based on articles written by others, or rephrasing press releases or aggregating others' content, as some do.
We at Telephony are convinced that the industry still values this kind of reporting, and that it needs this caliber of information. We recently conducted a reader survey, and the majority of those who responded said they do value both the print magazine and the electronic components of the Web site. Reading the positive comments offered by many readers was gratifying, but goodwill doesn't pay printing bills.
We are exploring other ways to survive as a print publication, including asking our subscribers to pay for the print magazines they say they love. So we're not throwing in the towel. Telephony began publishing as a weekly print magazine in 1901. I don't want it to end, especially not on my watch.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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