It has been a whirlwind first week, full of amazing messages from friends, colleagues, and lost connections. After PW broke the news last Monday that it had been acquired—and that I was returning to the magazine—the torrent of response was incredible, particularly after many among our 35,000 Twitter followers and the sundry media reporters, bloggers, and readers were heard from. Some were concerned by rumors of PW’s demise, or print’s demise, or even the death of the book. While the sequencing of the sale suggested uncertainty (the magazine was on and off the block for two years), PW itself was never at risk. The interest level in the magazine was quite strong. That PWxyz prevailed in its acquisition—we are a startup, after all—may have fueled conjecture. But we were simply the most determined of the many suitors prepared to take PW to its next incarnation.
Far from being dead, print will remain central to our communication continuum. However, targeting content to various segments of our readership is more easily done in electronic form, and we will sharpen those efforts. Cross-referencing our various databases will provide a clearer picture of what each reader wants and will facilitate the broader dissemination of more targeted content. During week one, we’ve already met with two device manufacturers and several of our many licensees. PW now reaches the largest audience that it ever has. With five e-mail newsletters (one daily, two weeklies, one bi-weekly, and one monthly), three international print show dailies, a robust Twitter audience, and a well-trafficked Web site, PW still moves the needle where English-language books are involved.
We will be migrating the site very soon to a new platform with the help of our friends and co-conspirators at Mediapolis, a Web-engineering firm helmed by four Web wonders. Publishing Experts has taken on the task of perfecting our editorial workflow in our sixth or seventh venture together, and CircFocus has jumped feet first into our circulation development needs. The entire archives of PW—going back 138 years—are being packaged for digitization. And we plan to build our international presence and generate local content from other markets. Google’s Chrome browser offers particularly exciting possibilities; it now translates entire sites into 52 languages, including 15 of the top 20 populations. The addition of one market means two-way traffic, a third results in six-way traffic, and at 52 languages you are dealing with 2,756 intra-language pathways—one can dream.
Our investment bankers, Hayfield Capital, stand ready to secure whatever funds we might need for the most ambitious plans. That is, once our team, the employees we happily acquired, decide what is right. They are the ones who really know the market. Their ambitions for this property are the key to our collective future, and the lifetime commitments that many have made are invaluable. And, of course, to all those who wrote to us their opinions (or will), who have greater ambitions for our venerable brand, I say: drop me a line.
George W. Slowik Jr.