It began with a phone conversation Monday with a high-level executive of a major media company.
"Lou, we can no longer support industry segments that fail to produce a discernible revenue stream."
That afternoon, there was a message on my phone from an assistant publisher.
"What is happening in journalsim is exactly what you predicted, Lou. It must be hard to be so right."
Back in 2001 I started to see a trend in how the free press would survive...or not... in the world of digital media. This blog has some of what I've seen happening, balanced by what the history of media is. Three years ago I started telling people inthe PR, Media, and Industry worlds that if they didn't change their media buying practices (that is, not advertising and relying on press coverage for awareness) that very soon they would not have the media to cover them.
This week, CMP, a large media firm did a massive layoff of editorial staff and significantly curtailed coverage of certain small electronic industry segments. Most significantly, Richard Goering, the dean of editors covering the small but strategically crucial Electronic Design Automation industry, was let go with very little fanfare. Any coverage of the industry will be by freelancers for significant stories and whatever press releases could be found on wire services. Let's put this into perspective.
In 2000, the VitalCom press list had 30 publications employing close to 80 journalists covering EDA. Today, you have EDN, Electronic Design, and Chip Design magazine comprising all of 2.25 journalists covering the industry (the 0.25 journalist is Mike Santarini of EDN who splits his time covering EDA, semiconductor intellectual property, and FPGA industries.
This is no slight to Paul Dempsey of EDA Tech Forum. He belongs in a whole other category that we will write about later.
The bottom line is, the economics of the media have caught up to those companies that have refused to make a significant investment in the conversation of the market, that which we call the media.
That takes me back the the message left on my answering machine. Yes, it is hard being right sometimes, but its also good to be prepared. The media is not going to disappear, even with blogging being all the rage. The New York Times remains, far and away, the most viewed site online in the world. Blogs, collectively, don't even register in the top 20. But the media is going to go where the money is. If it isn't coming from your industry, then no one is going to know your industry exists.
Want to know the secret to predicting the future? A year and a half ago, the major investment firms started dropping coverage of the EDA industry. Now the press is dropping coverage of the industry.
Earlier this week FSB decided to drop all coverage of the semiconductor industry. Guess what's next?
Come back to this site next week for more. Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.