The hardest part

A couple of weeks ago, I reflected a bit on the implications of a merger between two associations: American Business Media (ABM) and the Software and Information Industry Association. The long-term viability of the more format-driven ABM seemed in question, as did the notion that traditional definitions of market segments will persist.

Shortly after, Crain Communications' BtoB Media Business blog featured a profile of Penton Media. In it, writer Marie Griffin explains "Why Penton has started thinking of itself as a software company".

The company has introduced a number of content-related products that customers can integrate into their own ways of doing business – in the vernacular, as "part of workflow". The article describes an approach that allows subscribers to make Penton's database content available within a client platform.

At the same time, Penton is approaching its development efforts with the idea that it will "Write once, read many", at least where it makes sense for their markets. This is an area where publishers can gain some advantage through scale. Leveraging a development effort for a larger market can provide significant benefits in smaller segments that might otherwise not have their needs supported.

Again, these are data points, not necessarily inflection-point moments. That said, we're seeing a variety of data points that call into question traditional models of publishing. Waiting for the inflection point is probably not the best strategy. Then again, not waiting is pretty hard, too.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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