PC Magazine Abandons Print

PC MagazinePC Magazine, an icon of IT journalism since 1982 and home of the famous cranky geek John C. Dvorak, will see its last issue roll off the presses in January 2009. Do not weep for PC Magazine, however. They’re not closing down. Instead, they’ll do what all old media publications will inevitably do: shut down their print edition and focus on their more profitable online properties.

On the online side [Ziff Davis CEO Jason Young] wouldn’t disclose the revenues for the PCMag brand, but said it was in “tens and tens of millions” of dollars. He said the revenues on the online side have grown an average of 42 percent yearly since 2001; digital is about 70 percent of the revenues for the PCMag brand, and overall is profitable. He said that despite the economic situation, the PCMag brand revenues grew about 18 percent in Q308, and thinks that it will hold up despite advertising downturn due to the power of the brand.

What’s truly amazing is that, out of 140 employees at PC Magazine, only seven were actually involved with the print edition.

I can already hear the print media guys reassuring themselves: sure PC Mag’s online properties are more profitable, but that’s only because their readers are total computer nerds who spend all day on that Internet thing. To those people, I say: today’s geekery is tomorrow’s trend.

PC Magazine abandoning print should serve as a reminder to everyone in media that your website isn’t just a brochure for your “real” show/magazine/newspaper/whatever. Your website is your business, especially in the media business.

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