Posted on | February 3, 2010 | 3 Comments
Come spring, EE Times will be reborn, and Electronic Buyerâ€™s News will be resurrected. That was the message EE Times Group CEO Paul Miller delivered last week during meetings in Irvine, Calif., and Santa Clara, Calif., as he gave audiences a sneak peek at the new networkâ€™s look, feel and value propositions.
Itâ€™s a bold, smart redesign and rebranding of an goulash of mini-brands, and, heâ€™s admitted privately, something that should have been done at least five years ago. (Fair disclosure: I worked for EE Times for many years and currently, in my day job as director of communications and community for Numetrics, am working with EET Group on a business partnership).
The redesign falls broadly into several categories, including:
- Better navigation and organization (gone is the eye-smarting, impenetrable site of today).
- Single branding as EE Times (the former EE Times DesignLines, which for the past several years were branded under TechOnline are transformed into design channels by application)
- Better product information presentation and search
- Social functionality (a new â€œEE Lifeâ€ section that aims to be a commodious plaza for engineering communities within the network and outside as well).
- User control of content filters
- Better integration of the companyâ€™s events business into the network
- Web-enabled education components
The resurrection of Electronic Buyerâ€™s News. This venerable title was the first ever created by the Leeds family (which founded CMP in the early 1970s). It spoke to purchasing managers, and, a year later, EE Times was created to speak to design engineers and engineering managers. EBN was put on a ventilator a decade ago, moved online and given morphine shortly thereafter, as purchasing functions seemed to be subsumed by engineers.
Miller claims research suggests that purchasing is regaining importance within technology organizations. Engineers are increasingly concerned about supply chain issues, pricing and availability, according to the survey. So, there will be an online role for a revitalized EBN. Details TBD.
Printâ€™s alive. EE Timesâ€™ print edition may add a little to its 18-20x / year schedule. In addition, a long-studied move to a paid model for some or all of EETâ€™s print content is closer to reality.
This transformation reflects as much the changing realities of todayâ€™s engineering world as it does the transformation of EE Times Group. Recall that EE Times Group emerged Jan. 1 out of the old TechInsights, which itself was an updated version of the old Electronics Group within CMP, which was a unit of UBM. Miller built TechInsights as a marketing-services company, and the acquisitions he helped engineer (such as Semiconductor Insights and Portelligent) went off when TechInsights and the EET properties were cleaved.
That left Miller (left, personal blog: Would You Adam and Eve It?) holding the publishing bag at the worst time in publishingâ€™s history. Nice. He prevailed on UBM CEO David Levin to cut him some slack for a while, made a few really interesting hires (especially in audience development and IT) and will unveil the new look to the world, sometime in April. Skeptics will say the good folks at EE Times Group have always had a good vision and talked a good game, but executionâ€™s been spotty. This time could be different, and a lot of people are counting on that.