|Business-to-business magazine publisher, Westwick-Farrow Media (WFM), this week announced the acquisition of specialist magazine title, Australian Life Scientist (ALS) from IDG Communications. Sister website www.lifescientist.com.au will also move across to WFM. This follows hot on the heels of WFM's launch last week of IT business magazine Technology Decisions and its website www.technologydecisions.com.au.
While many magazine companies question the future of their print titles amidst falling ad revenues and copy sales, WFM publisher, Geoff Hird, is convinced that print is still a vital element in the expanding range of platforms that publishers need to be active on. "It's all about giving the audience options, and based on feedback from our readers, print is still very relevant, with over 50% telling us it's their preferred delivery method" Hird said.
However, Hird is in no way dismissing digital and mobile channels as WFM is committed to developing both in the year ahead. "We are excited about the opportunities in digital and particularly mobile, but the bottom line is that it's not about the channel used to deliver content, it's about the value of the content - always has and always will be"
Both the launch and the acquisition were carefully considered, and well researched business decisions, and in no way reflect any emotional attachment to print. "We are a multi-channel media publisher and print continues to be a backbone to each media group in our stable, including these two new titles" Hird stated.
Australian Life Scientist gives WFM ownership of the laboratory and life science media space, and will complement their longstanding What's New in LAB & Life Science magazine and www.labonline.com.au website. Both magazines are bi-monthly, they publish on alternate months, and have distinctly unique content offerings. "We have served this market for over 20 years and know all the leading vendors, associations and facilities, so it makes sense for ALS to come on deck and strengthen our market coverage."
Hird added that the launch of Technology Decisions, in a sector where many marketers have dismissed print, has WFM ‘swimming upstream', but sees this as a great opportunity to stand apart from the crowd. "If a large enough segment of our audience still want print, we will give them print - sooner or later, the savvy marketers will get on board too, as quite a number have done so for our launch".
On the eve of Publishers Australia's annual Magazine Week conference www.magazineweek.net.au at the Sydney Hilton (November 15-16), Hird (who is also Chairman of the magazine industry body) concluded by saying the magazine industry still had many challenges to face, but commitment to multi-channel platforms was vital. "Print is still very much one of those platforms."