@ FOBM: Technology Business Media: Finding A Place In The Food Chain

Thanks to a superb rally of analogies, the Future Of Business Media conference momentarily sounded like a seminar on the groceries industry. But it was an important and amusing metaphorical framework for understanding the way rivals in the tech business media sector are squaring off (or not)…

Om Malik: The GigaOm blog founder admitted: “I definitely want to make it a little bit tougher for (fellow panelists from CNET (NSDQ: CNET), IDG and TechTarget) in the future, (but) I don’t think we compete with them – we are an adjunct. What we do is more attuned to today’s times … in today’s life, the biggest shortcoming is time … people want information easily packages and that can be reviewed in 20 minutes. That’s what the blogging format is all about. These guys are the entree and we are the fast food of information – there’s nothing wrong with that because, last I checked, fast food was much bigger than the whole packaged food business.”

CNET: Picking up the analogy, CEO Neil Ashe cautioned: “Fast food is blamed for the deteriorating health of America.” But Ashe’s publisher is noticeably in a different kind of space. His focus is on publishing “at scale”. On non-tech site launched, he said: “We wanted to scale horizontally and we’ve repeated that success whether it’s in games or parenting or food.” … “For us to be successful, we have to continue to voraciously acquire those users and we have to have multiple streams of revenue to make those users profitable in our models.”

IDG: IDG president Bob Carrigan sees value in multiple approaches, too, and acknowledges the threat from upstart blogs like Malik’s: “Sure they’re competition. At first, we try to get them to join our network. To be a good publisher, you have to provide, in a contextual way, vendor content, original content, reviews, blogs — our editorial folks go out (to blogs) and find relevant comment and they’re part of that mix that we present on our site.”