These trends have affected almost all publications except celebrity and fashion magazines. Even scholarly journals or publications like the Economist with relatively little advertising face an increasing demand from their readers for electronic publication. In short, the time when publishers could rely on print magazines is finished.
But the realignment of the publishing industry has hit Technology Review very hard. In part, this is because our technologically savvy readers and advertisers are unusually attracted to the Web; in part, it is because we are an independent company, unattached to any larger media company, and therefore unprotected by any economies of scale. Whatever the reason, our numbers told a stark story: our print circulation and advertising revenues were falling.
Online, though, was something else. Even though our website did little more than republish magazine stories, more people visited it every month than read our print publication: in one year, millions of people were reading stories on technologyreview.com. And online advertising, while still relatively small, was growing faster than we could manage: sometimes, advertisers demanded more impressions than we could deliver.
With the encouragement of MIT (which owns Technology Review), we have done what many publishers yearn to do, but dare not: we have turned our business upside down. Technology Review has been a print magazine with a website; from now on, we will be an electronic publisher that also prints a magazine.
To be clear: we love print. Most people still prefer to see longer, investigative stories or colorful photographs in a magazine. And we still receive more revenue from print than online advertising. So we will continue to publish a thoughtful and beautiful magazine. But we know the future of Technology Review is also electronic and interactive.
Please visit our new website and see what Brad King, the site’s Web producer and senior editor, and Wade Roush, its editor, have made. If you read Technology Review because we write with unembarrassed geekiness and intelligence about emerging technologies, you’ll find the same thing online every day. Once you’ve visited, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think.