A story over at Forbes caught my eye today. It talks that while Silicon Valley is booming again, the tech media is bleeding. The article states that the advertising revenue of popular magazines and sites like Business 2.0, PC Magazine and CNET is dropping enormously.
Compared to a year ago PC Magazine’s ad sales in March were 38.8% lower and in the same period Business 2.0 experienced a drop of 21.8%.
Tech blogs on the other hand seem to be flourishing:
Meanwhile, Industry Standard founder John Battelle is keeping the bonfire of the print titles burning. His Federated Media Publishing is selling ads on more than 100 blogs, giving ad buyers the ability to spend big money on a collection of highly specialized sites–many of them focused on tech–that suit their needs. “If Cisco has to spend, I don’t know, a couple of million dollars on a trade campaign, they are not spending it with Red Herring or Business 2.0. They are spending it with Federated Media, with bloggers who cover the sector,” says Rafat Ali, editor and publisher of online media tracker PaidContent.org.
And while blog networks are quickly gaining scale, even their most coveted offerings are cost-competitive. To make a back-of-the-napkin comparison based on rate cards: A start-up looking to get attention will grab a third-of-a-page color ad in a magazine with a rate base of 600,000 and might pay $27,300; or it can pay $21,000 for 600,000 impressions for its ads on TechCrunch–a site covering start-ups represented by Battelle’s Federated Media–assuming they take the priciest ad slot on one of tech’s hottest sites.
That’s no surprise, given that it takes fewer resources for blogs to crank out content than it does print titles. Web sites such as GigaOm, TechCrunch and Valleywag–with a few laptops, a web server and some hustle–are crowding into beats once dominated by trade publications and enthusiast magazines who rely on printing presses and full-time writers and editors. Bottom line: A successful blog can simply grab more readers, per employee, than more traditional media.
Talk to blogger Matt Marshall. He walked away from covering venture capital at one of California’s biggest newspapers, the San Jose Mercury News, to run a venture capital Web site from the second bedroom of his Fremont, Calif., home. He has no employees. Federated Media handles the ad sales for a 40% cut. And Marshall says he now makes more than he did as a reporter. Meanwhile, the Mercury News laid off 31 of his former colleagues this month. “Where they can actually succeed is by taking a particular vertical and absolutely nailing it,” eMarketer’s Ramsey says of bloggers like Marshall.
Articles like these make me worry a bit about my own future. Currently my tech site is still doing well but I’m not sure if it will still be doing alight in lets say 5 or 10 years from now.