Submitted by: Joan MacKenzie 12/03/2011
Major publisher shifts its reach to mobile
By Sean Callahan
New York—Stop the presses: Ziff Davis Enterprise plans to be the first major b-to-b publisher to abandon print completely. The company, which publishes Baseline, CIO Insight and eWeek, will go paperless in January.
The move is designed to eliminate paper, printing and postage costs, but it is also part of a broad mobile and digital strategy that the company is calling OmniDigital. Beginning in November, Ziff Davis Enterprise will launch websites and native apps geared for a variety of smartphones, such as the Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Phone 7, as well as the iPad, Rim Playbook and Android-powered tablets.
“The future of engagement is mobile, it is social and it is entirely digital,” Steve Weitzner, CEO of Ziff Davis Enterprise, said in a statement. “We intend to drive the digital marketing standard for b-to-b tech media and accelerate the "anywhere and everywhere' consumption of content by exploiting the rapid adoption of mobile and tablet devices in the IT community.”
Using digital editions, Ziff Davis Enterprise plans to boost the frequency and audience reach of its magazines. The company said Baseline and CIO Insight will double their frequency from six times a year to monthly. Additionally, eWeek will return to biweekly frequency, up from 19 issues a year.
Weitzner said no job cuts will result from the shift away from print and that it's in the budget to hire more editorial staffers next year. "Part of this allows us to invest more in content, not spending on distribution," he said.
Chuck Richard, VP-lead analyst at Outsell Inc., speculated whether costs savings were the primary impetus for the move. "My first reaction is, seeing as how they're keeping the digital editions, is this a production cost issue or is it a final point of view on mobile and how content is being consumed?" he said.