Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

EE Times moving to magazine format

Posted on | June 6, 2008 | No Comments

EE Times, the No. 1 publication for the global electronics industry, will become a magazine on July 14.
That news was revealed in a memo that Publisher David Blaza sent advertisers late last week and I got my grubby little hands on.

“EE Times has traditionally been a news-oriented publication. But news, because of its very nature, is best served up online. … There is an important category of information, however, that is not as well suited to online and that is the ‘thought piece,’ the extended essay, content that most readers prefer to consume offline…”

The move should come as no surprise to anyone following the B:B publishing space. Simply put, smaller form factor lowers printing costs, a big cost.
What’s next? Whatever competitors are left in the print game will summon the ghost of Electronic Business magazine. Whatever. It’s not an apples to apples comparison by any stretch.
What else is next? Probably frequency. The magazine size almost forces that hand since magazine format typically favors deep analytical stories and treatments, while tabloid-sized publications work better with newsier content.
Frequency wasn’t outlined in Blaza’s memo, but it’s a reasonable assumption. There are plans to skip a few issues this year, perhaps in the summer and certainly around the December holidays.
Monthly seems logical. The remaining Times staff know the industry like the back of their hands, but they can’t drive that type of content on a weekly basis and make a compelling magazine. There is simply not enough of them left. They can, however, crank out news online with one side of their brain and deliver a great weekly with the other side. Pulling in a few freelancers wouldn’t hurt either.
Blaza has other EE Times-related stuff in the works, to wit three big events in the fall:

  • MEMS in the real world (October, Boston)
  • Regional Investment Event (November, Silicon Valley)
  • Investment Outlook 2009 (December, San Francisco)

Versions of these concepts have been kicked around internally for years, and it’s great to see them near the light of day. Blaza was one of the first to kick around the idea of an EET-branded financial event some four years ago. It’ll work if it’s done right.
So what’s the take-away as the last of the print weeklies seems destined to change its frequency?
If this were another industry, it would be different. Compelling conversations are taking place online–certainly in the consumer Web startup space; increasingly in enterprise software. This hasn’t coalesced yet in the electronics space. Not to say it won’t, but it hasn’t.
So you have the engineering audience with one foot still firmly planted in print boat, a tentative foot on the dock.
Whatever their form, however, the industry needs to show better support for its publications and their digital extensions. Nothing is emerging quickly to replace them. Without the community square for compelling conversations, innovation itself withers.
The industry may one day end up pointing the finger at the publishers for letting them down, but the publishers aren’t shrinking their news and information sources for laughs.
Far from it.

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Comments

No Responses to “EE Times moving to magazine format”

  1. Loring Wirbel
    June 7th, 2008 @ 7:28 am

    The counter-argument to your frequency supposition is that Computerworld, Network World, and eWeek moved to magazine format over a year ago and have not moved away from weekly frequency. However, they remain very thin, and rumor continues that the print edition of eWeek is not long for this world. We can’t ask Eric Lundquist, he was one of those let go by Weitzner.

  2. Eric
    June 8th, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

    Your bold move opens new possibilities and I hope you have more success than some other computer publications.

  3. Karen
    June 11th, 2008 @ 9:51 am

    It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the magazine format, and after all their layoffs too.

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