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September 1, 2006

4 Min Read
Editorial: Digital opportunity knocks?


Coming to a computer near you, ?Digital Delivery.? Now there?s a cliché for you. As with most clichés, it means nothing out of context, but something very specific in context. In this context it means that you have the opportunity to read PM&A on your computer screen, and read it there at the time and place of your convenience. However, you can still choose to receive your subscription on paper if you prefer.

For the entire Internet era I have thought that one ought to be able to read magazines on the Internet, page for page, front to back, advertisements and all. Why not? Publishers could just scan the pages, load them up, and away we go. If you needed a paper copy of a page you could just print it.

Apparently I was naïve. It?s not as easy as I thought. And besides which, this was one of those deals that I thought would be best for other people. I thought I would personally mostly prefer to read magazines or newspapers on paper, at least those that I habitually read.

The digital variation I would save for items that I referred to occasionally or for special purposes. I already get access to some special reports in this way. Various factors determine whether I print the document out. The three-page market report I print without reservation. The 100-page legal ruling on a patent case gives me pause.

Either way, I have a choice. However, our office printer, even our (expensive!) color printer, won?t fully replicate the heft, the color, the gloss, and the spreads (left page, right page) that are characteristic of today?s printed publications.

But all of this is prologue. As of this issue, PM&A will be available by digital delivery. Note that readers will be seeing advertisements as well as editorial material, which is also true of the printed format. The following explanation derives largely from our media kit. I?m not trying to re-invent the wheel here.

The Wave of the Future

How does digital delivery work? A Web browser is all that?s needed. No proprietary reader is required and no additional application is needed. The interface makes it easy to read issues online.

Options include:

  • Go directly to the Table of Contents

  • Save this issue to your hard drive

  • Go directly to any page in this issue

  • Look at previous issues

  • Search for text within this magazine

  • Increase or decrease viewing area

  • Send this issue to a friend

  • View one vs. two pages at a time

Subscribers request their issues to be delivered either in print or by digital notification. When digital subscribers receive notification by e-mail, they link to an easy-to-use website for immediate access to their complete issue. The issue is interactive with hotlinks to all URLs in the editorial content and in advertisements. Subscribers can easily download it to their desktop, read it online, and pass along the issue to a friend.

Multimedia ads can play on demand or play automatically on viewing. These can be video of running equipment, or messages from CEOs. My experience of video is that it tends to make a subject come to life. Deep links enable advertisers to hotlink their ads directly to pages within their website rather than just to the home page.

All of this means that we have the opportunity?perhaps the need?to turn our focus away from the past, and even away from the present, and toward the future. As elsewhere in life, when opportunity knocks, it?s time to answer.And now, since there has been some interest, and no hate mail, we bring on the blues/pop/rock lyrics quote du jour:

??yesterday?s gone?why not think about times to come??

Credit goes to Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac in the song titled ?Don?t Stop,? released in 1977 on the Rumours album. We should all make as much money as that album did, as it became the Number Three seller of all time. Christine, (nee Perfect, by the way) got her start as a classical pianist, but shifted to pop/rock and, true to the lyrics, never looked back.

P.S.?A sharp-eyed reader has offered a revision to an earlier lyrics credit (PM&A July/August 2006, p. 4): The correct attribution is Stephen Stills, 1967.?MS

Merle R. Snyder

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