ED Europe is a purely digital publication. So does this mean print is dead?

Paul W Mug shot loAbsolutely not. In my opinion print publications will never be redundant. We humans read for many reasons such as pleasure, education, information-gathering and business requirements and for many people there is considerable enjoyment in reading a well-written, well-designed magazine or newspaper that is traditionally printed. There is also for some a desire to own well-produced books that perhaps form part of a personal collection.

I see no future print scenario that will emulate Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451. ….now there’s a book worth owning.

From a B2B information perspective I think traditional print and electronic media can co-exist. The only proviso I would mention is that free circulation B2B print publications face sharply escalating costs on paper, printing and postage and therefore it is financially logical that B2B media companies will increasingly use electronic media to reach existing and new audiences

What are the benefits your readers see from a magazine that is delivered digitally?

Convenient delivery to their computer desktop, easy storage for reference purposes, easy to print if required. Individual pages or the whole thing can be emailed to colleagues, customers, etc.

ED Europe is delivered only as a PDF, whereas most other titles have some online system with animated pages and an option to download a PDF. Why haven’t you offered an online reader?

Unlike many PDF-delivered publications that are really print publications that have been adapted for, or in some cases just shoved onto, computer screens, ED Europe was specifically designed for PDF delivery. This provides numerous advantages for recipients. It opens in a landscape format that fits computer screens. Readers do not have to zoom in to read it or scroll around the page trying to find the story they want. Reader navigation throughout the publication is quick and easy and because of some very smart compression techniques we can produce a 26-page edition with lots of colour graphics that goes out typically as a 3meg file.

Let’s not forget here that ED Europe was created back in 2005 so it’s not unreasonable to call it a pioneering success in digital B2B media terms. It has during that time won three major awards in the USA.

On the subject of Flash-related animations in digital publications Penton Media is fully aware of these and plans to make full use of them.

Can you explain the difference between writing for a print publication and writing for a purely digital title?

In the case of ED Europe, there really is no difference. Because of the way it is designed we can run short news stories, full-length technical features and opinion columns in exactly the same way as a traditional print publication.

Now ask me that question relative to writing directly online and that’s a very different journalistic proposition. Penton Media editors now write directly to websites and the way headlines and other related information is written has to be within certain parameters that suit web journalism.

So we now see a complete Penton Media portfolio where editors write for traditional print, digital and online media

ED Europe launched an HTML email newsletter. Why didn’t you simply create a shorter PDF magazine to cover the news? What are the advantages of the HTML delivery?

Three reasons for that. ED Europe’s NewsLine newsletters provide readers with a fast, convenient, easily absorbed information service. For Penton Media it has created an additional revenue source while also doing the valuable job of driving traffic to our websites.

You have been one of the pioneers of online video in the European electronics industry. Do you see video continuing to grow as a medium in our industry?

Penton Media are committed to online video in a big way and yes I do see the use of video as a B2B communication tool expanding. Penton Media has an Engineering TV department that works in conjunction with publications and editors to produce very high quality professional standard coverage. For me and many of my editorial, colleagues at Penton one of the major video innovations has been the way in which we report on exhibitions. To be able to shoot a three-minute interview with somebody that has been deeply involved in the development of new products and technology and have them explain it directly to our design engineering audiences has to be one of the most immediate and informative ways of communicating complex information.

In addition to our editorially created video coverage Penton Media is now looking at hosting vendor videos on our websites. Conceptually, these are videos produced by companies that want to promote their products and as such can considered as being a modern high-tech form of advertising. Penton Media will be hosting these videos for a fee and the number of weeks/months the video will appear for will depend on the level of fee paid.

What is the one thing you’d like to change about the way companies do PR in the electronics industry?

Generally speaking the successful PR executives and PR agencies do a pretty good job of presenting and distributing information to the media.

But while we are on the subject of PR agencies I will just release one particular bee-from-my-bonnet. PR agencies in a bid to do the best for their clients will often promote the use of editorial columns to publicise the client. And why not? Its a powerful form of promotion that contains that all important credibility ingredient called editorial integrity; although sometimes I wonder, and call me a tad cynical here if you wish, if the real attraction is more to do with the fact that editorial coverage is free.

Without going into a full scale, force 10 rant here let me put the point simply. There are agencies with foresight that appreciate magazines do need advertising income if they are to stay in business. Sadly, there are others that will soak up all the editorial support they can without thinking that in the long-term publications are a business and understandably need to turn a profit or otherwise face closure; a situation that benefits no publicity agencies.

If an industry feels there is a value to having B2B media circulating in its sector then it needs to consider supporting that media with advertising.

And let’s get one thing straight; I am certainly not talking here about a pay-to-play editorial approach. Clearly, that would ultimately denigrate the content of any journal and would not serve the interests of either readers or advertisers. What I am saying is that all industry clients and their agencies should recognise that in the long-term maintaining independent, well written and well produced business media is in everyone’s interests.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, when you’re not writing about electronics?

Wining and dining with family and friends, travelling in Spain, playing classical Spanish guitar (badly)

What’s your favourite gadget?

A corkscrew