We've had some interesting interaction on this site the past couple of weeks about the future of b2b media. There is an old guard that publically espouses absolute separation of editorial and advertising but the reality is very much different. And today comes news that Open Systems Publishing is taking the leap into custom electronic publishing. Not print, electronic.
From the press release:
ST. CLAIR SHORES, MI, April 19, 2013 - OpenSystems Media has announced the next generation in digital publishing - an all new, dynamic E-mag marketing program, giving clients the chance to create their own branded, lead-generating digital magazine - the Custom E-mag Initiative.
The Custom E-mag Initiative, which launches today, is an interactive digital publication, featuring the clients own educational white papers, product and company video clips, display ads, topical articles, hyperlinks to additional resources, social media interfaces, and product announcements (demonstration available at custom.opensystemsmedia.com). Posted online in a web-browser-friendly format, the E-mag's content is gated, requiring interested readers to register. This provides the client a list of interested parties for follow-up.
This is the direction of pretty much every electronics industry media house now, and follows on the heels of more established firms like Forbes, The Washington Post and the New York Times. Corporations are moving toward being their own publisher.
But here's the point Footwasher Media stands on: It doesn't matter what the vehicle is, what matters is whether your audience accepts it as valid and is willing to engage.
You are not going to attract customers to your in-house media by stuffing your marketing content into a new bag. You are going to have to invest in content producers that have a perspective outside of your marcom. Hell, I wish journalists could still get a paycheck by being an employee of a publication, but those that do have a real hard time making rent. Yes there are a very few organizations that make money the old fashioned way, but they still sell a lot of space for corporate news releases and white papers and webinars. In fact, it's getting harder and harder to find the independent content in any publication.
Should we sit around and grumble about the change, or should we, as independent journalists, try to adapt to it?