Why was Computer Video closed? Bob C gives his take

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bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Following the closure of Computer Video magazine in early December 2005, my email inbox was full of messages of sympathy – messages that also asked, of course, why the magazine was closed and why was this was carried out without warning.

The same questions were put to me while I was on DVdoctor’s stand at the VideoForum 2005 show (Jan 25-27).

There, we explained to visitors that DVdoctor is in the process of creating the world’s best web site for video editing – covering all aspects including DVD authoring, camcorders and all related hardware and software, and reaching from the very top of the market, down to the very bottom.

I have not felt free to give my opinion in full about the closure of Computer Video.

However, on January 28 I was paid in full the monies owed to me by the publisher of Computer Video - Highbury House Communications.

This consisted of statutory redundancy, plus payment for the statutory redundancy-consultation period and in lieu of outstanding holidays.

So, first off, some background about the magazine market in which CV operated.

During 2004, WH Smith, which accounts for something like 55 per cent of all UK magazine sales, decided that it needed to get a better return per square foot of shop space, and that one way of doing this was to reduce the space given to smaller-selling magazines.

As a result, many hundreds of magazines were “delisted” by WH Smith – their publishers were told that WH Smith would no longer be stocking these titles.

As I understand it, WH Smith had effectively said to publishers, “if you can’t convince us that you will be able to increase the money we earn from these titles to the level we need, we’ll stop stocking them”.

A number of the titles published by Highbury were threatened by this decision – including Computer Video – and I was told by senior Highbury management that, to try prevent titles being delisted, Highbury had, in meetings with WH Smith, explained what it would be doing to increase the sales and revenue that those titles would generate.

In the case of Computer Video, the actions that were actually taken were to:

* Increase the overall page count from 100 to 116, to make available pages to include those types of articles, principally tutorials and features, that did not appear regularly every month within Computer Video.

Originally, the stated intention (whether made clear to WH Smith I do not know) was for the page count to increase by 32, but that was reduced – a decision I did not agree with but, like so much else, was out of my control.

* Have a cover DVD with lots of good stuff on it – and I had asked, since before the magazine was launched, for the resources to provide a good cover disc but no funding was made available until the decision was taken, under threat, to add a DVD (though the very first issue did have cover floppy disk).

* Put the price up by £2 to £5.99 - in part to cover additional costs of the extra pages and cover DVD but also to earn WH Smith (and Highbury) more money per issue sold - WH Smith was taking, I think, roughly 50 per cent of the cover price.

I did agree with this decision since, in my less than humble view, the magazine would be worth every penny of the £5.99 cover price if we delivered what I intended we should – and I believe we did do that in all the revamped issues (cover dates Nov 04 to Feb 05).

A brief word of explanation may be in order here why I had allowed reviews to dominate the magazine for a long period of time.

It’s simple really - the magazine’s advertising-sales staff have always said they were better able to sell on the back of reviews than on anything else and, since there was always a lot of relevant and interesting products to test, I tended to favour reviews above tutorials and features.

That may not have been the right decision from the point of view of directly served the best interests of the readers (or, in hindsight, for maintaining retail sales) but without a good stream of revenue, the magazine had no future.

I should also add that every request from me for extra pages (to have a better editorial balance) had been refused and, that the page-count had, against my wishes, been reduced a long while ago from 108 to 100.

I would also point out that the final redesign of CV took place in a big rush without any dummy issues being produced (this was the case with most revamps I saw of other titles), hence the cock-ups in the Nov 04 issue, such as the too-small type sizes used in certain areas.

On the subject of magazines being delisted, the only Highbury magazines I am aware of that suffered that fate were the company’s puzzle titles – and, seemingly, this was inevitable given that – as I understand it - nobody at a senior management level remembered to discuss these titles with WH Smith before it was too late.

None of this, of course, explains why senior management took the decision to close Computer Video (or Computer Video Editing as it was called towards the end).

My belief – and it was a theory based only on observations and knowledge of Highbury’s uncomfortable financial position – was that Highbury was tidying up the place in preparation for selling off the Highbury Entertainment division, to raise much needed funds.

Highbury Entertainment encompasses specialist consumer titles based in Kentish Town, London where CV was based; and others in Bournemouth.

A number of other magazines were closed at the same time as CV, and others have been closed since.

So, rather like following the advice given by those television programs that explain how to tart up a house for sale, Highbury, it seemed to me, was tidying away the clutter, putting up plain-coloured wallpaper and placing candlesticks on the dining-room table.

Funds were needed – the evidence would suggest - to restore some shareholder value (prior to Christmas 2004, shares had plummeted to under 7.5p each – they were well over £1 the previous year, I understand) and to pay off massive debts (£61.9m at 31-12-03; £59.3m at 28-09-04 [interim results]).

According to a news story at Times Online (Jan 27, 2005), HHC in its entirety was valued at only £29.2 million.

A large proportion of these debts were incurred during 2003 by purchasing two companies.

One was Cabal (£10 million apparently the maximum paid, but I can’t deduce the exact figure from any available company-published documents).

More significantly, Highbury paid £32 million cash for Paragon, the publishing company run by Mark Simpson, and had to borrow to do so.

Amazingly, following the clearout of Highbury board members (as the ordure hit the air-conditioning) Mark Simpson – presumably because of his experience of selling companies for top dollar - was appointed CEO of Highbury.

That was during the summer of 2004, but, I’ve been unable to deduce the exact date from any documents on HHC’s site and I no longer have access to emails that would give me the precise date.

On Wed 26 Jan 05, my theory about the company being sold was proven wrong. Or, rather, only half right.

As a result of changes (upwards) in the company’s share price, Mark Simpson had had to issue a statement to the Stock Exchange explaining that a bid had been received.

This statement seems to suggest that the bid was for the whole company, rather than the jewel in its crown (Highbury Entertainment) as I had supposed.

But why was Computer Video one of the magazines that Highbury chose to close?

Well, two of the other titles that were shut down in the first round of closures had one thing in common with CV – they addressed the video-editing and camcorder markets (these titles were located at Highbury Entertainment in Bournemouth, not London like CV, and were formerly published by Paragon).

And two of Highbury’s London-based titles that remain also target camcorders and video editing - Camcorder User and What Camcorder. Those, however, are the names by which I think of them; I don’t know precisely what they’re being called today or tomorrow.

So, the company had five titles aimed at these sectors and, pre-Christmas 2004, each had UK retail sales of less than 10,000 per issue (some considerably less) – far fewer than advertisers might have thought.

The company was struggling to maintain retail sales (not surprising, perhaps when little was spent on promoting the titles, certainly the Kentish Town titles) and was also suffering diminishing advertising revenues – advertisers, especially retailers, do pull out if their ads don’t bring the hoped-for number of enquiries, and falling circulations are likely to reduce the levels of enquiries.

Advertisers may not have been lied to about copy sales but in some cases they were actively being misled by being told only the size of the print runs and not the circulation – and the circulation figures of HHC’s London titles are not externally audited by ABC or anyone other organisation.

Some further background may be useful about why sales of the five Highbury Entertainment titles were all on the slide.

It’s my view that niche publications typically lose magazine sales for one of two reasons.

The first is that the public loses interest in the niche topic. The other is that the topic becomes mainstream and receives substantial coverage in generalists publications – reducing the need for specialist titles.

To my mind, it is the widening of interest in video editing, DVD authoring and camcorders in the UK that has been behind the problem suffered by CV and its sister titles – not a lack of interest.

And it is the case that I have long pointed out to senior management that, in my view, it is the generalist computer titles (rather than Highbury’s own titles in London and Bournemouth) that were the real competitors to CV.

It is blatantly obvious that generalist computer titles – Mac and Windows – have steadily increased their coverage of these sectors.

Although I might (justifiably) sneer at the poor editorial quality and coverage, it is not unreasonable to believe, as I do, that only a small proportion of the people who read these generalist magazines are sufficiently interested in video editing and camcorders (and related matters) to be willing to also pay out for the in-depth coverage of the middle-market sector that CV provided or for specialist coverage lower down the market from its sister titles.

That, however, rather ignores the fact that too few consumers had the chance even to make an informed decision, since few will have even known of the existence of CV’s sister titles, and even fewer will have known of CV itself.

Little or no money was spent actively promoting CV or its sister titles at Highbury, London and too few shops stocked them.

And, even in the WH Smith stores in which CV was stocked, it suffered, since its launch in 1997, from typically being racked in the wrong place – hidden away at the back of the bottom shelf in the computer section, rather than more prominently among the camcorder and video titles, where (I was repeatedly told) we asked WH Smith to place it.

So, with five titles all pursuing largely the same readership and advertisers, and up against competition from bigger-selling generalist computer titles, something, seemingly, had to go - especially if a neat and tidy publishing house was to be shown to prospective purchasers.

And, if the aim wasn’t to build the overall publishing business but instead to tidy up the business in preparation for a sale, then there was some logic in closing Computer Video – even if this did not allow time for the effects of the revamp to be felt or for the proposed further name change – to Video Editing – to happen.

It was the case, I think, that CV’s editorial costs were more than those of the other four titles.

At the end, CV had, I believe the highest editorial budget for external contributors of the five magazines (well, I'm reasonably sure it had the highest of the three in London, at any rate).

Added to that, my salary has always been considerably higher than that of any of the editors of the other four titles (I’m a lot older and a lot more experienced – hopefully, that showed in CV’s content).

However, I believe that other editors are underpaid, rather than me being overly-generously rewarded.

Also, CV’s cover DVDs - a new on-cost - were being authored outside the company, whereas cover discs on Bournemouth-based titles were authored in-house by lowly-paid staff members working across more than one title.

Computer Video also lacked mass-market appeal. It was aimed largely at semi-professionals and serious amateurs, whereas its sister titles tended to be targeted at those new to video editing, DVD authoring and using camcorders – and there are many more of those sorts of people than there are semi-pros or serious amateurs.

Our advertising people thought that it would have been better for the Computer Video to go further upmarket, to chase advertising from companies making more expensive hardware and software - and I tended to agree.

However, I have now come to the conclusion that the company thought (correctly) that there was more potential for magazine sales in titles aimed at novice users – though I still think that the two on-going titles will struggle to retain sales, never mind increase them, although I would love to be proven wrong.

Complicating matters somewhat, the company plans that, from its March-on-sale issue, Camcorder User (renamed again to I-don’t-know-what) will include some CV-type material as well as some tutorials of the type that Digital Video Made Easy published.

So that one title would appear to be trying to appeal to the mid-market and beginners – and only time will tell if that is appropriate or whether the editor is given the resources to do the job.

Why then, did the company also close the Bournemouth-based title Digital Video Made Easy magazine, which was a beginners’ title?

In attempting to answer this question, I'd suggest that you keep in mind that, at the time of Highbury’s acquisition of Paragon, DVME had ABC-audited sales of close to 14,000 (it may have been more than 14K).

Well, in my view, the editorial standards of the magazine were poor (I would say that, of course, wouldn’t I?) – and the only way to maintain sales would have been to spend money to bring new issues to the attention of new buyers (who’d not already formed a negative opinion) – and this is something I believe Paragon had had to do done prior to being taken over, simply to keep up the magazine’s sales.

Trouble is, seemingly, after the take over, there wasn’t money available to still do that.

However, even if sales could have been maintained or grown, there would have continued to be a problem selling advertising in the magazine – and it is that advertising which provides the lion’s share of income and profit for a typical niche consumer publication.

I believe that many potential advertisers (well, those who not only book ads but also have reason to care about editorial standards of the titles in which they appear) also thought that DVME’s editorial quality was poor - despite its glossy appearance and use of glossy ladies on the cover and inside.

That theory is supported to an extent by the fact that, even when responsibility for ad sales was passed from Bournemouth to the more aggressive sales staff at Highbury in Kentish Town, revenues remained low, though I suspect it likely they will have grown substantially, relatively speaking.

Something else to consider. Now that WH Smith is unwilling to stock smaller-selling niche publications that do not provide a sufficiently large return per square foot, shouldn’t a company that publishes niche magazines be looking at ways of continuing in business that do not rely so heavily on WH Smith?

The answer, I’d suggest, can only be, yes, and I’d make the point that niche publishers need to regularly launch new titles just to replace the revenue lost when existing titles close after their readerships tail off.

Tail-offs happen naturally usually because a particular niche is no longer of public interest or it has gone mainstream and is being covered by bigger-selling generalist titles (and/or the wider media).

There is little that a publisher can do to rekindle interest in a dying niche sector but there are three obvious routes that combat the predations of mainstream media and which also by-pass the vagaries of the retail channel, and none is mutually exclusive:

* Subscriptions – selling directly to the public

* Controlled circulation – sending magazines free to a chosen audience of readers whose demographic or business profiles are known to appeal to advertisers

* Providing content on the internet as good as that in the equivalent magazine (or better if the aim is to publish only on the net)

Felix Dennis, the founder of Dennis Publishing, has made at least one widely quoted speech (at a PPA event in late 2004) on related matters.

There he talked about his company’s experiences in the USA and warned UK publishers against paying excessively for their magazines to be stocked by retailers and also against being exploited by third-party subscription companies.

I am not concerned that no current or past member of HHC’s board has to my knowledge made any high-profile public statements about the problems the company faces.

But what does concern me – rather less now than it did when I was an HHC employee – is that I have seen no evidence in the workplace that any board member has even conceded that there is a problem that needs addressing, never mind looking seriously at ways in which it might be addressed.

So, what are my motives for writing this long-winded diatribe and for publishing in on the net?

Well, assuming anyone can honestly describe their own motives, I'd say that, first and foremost, I want loyal former newsstand purchasers of CV and subscribers to read my take on the events leading up to and surrounding the closure of CV. I do NOT want them thinking that I was in any way involved in the decision to close the magazine without giving any warning of its demise.

On top of that, there’s sheer irritation at what I see as the poor management of HHC over the years.

This is epitomised by its apparent belief that it could keep on milking profits from the mags in the division in which I worked without investing in marketing and promotion or to pay decent wages and provide good conditions of service for journalists (their "plant-and-machinery" effectively) - whether they be staff writers, sub-editors, designers, deputy editors or editors.

It’s also been hugely galling – to myself and I suspect to all those like me low down the feeding chain - to see the way in which HCC has spent very many millions of pounds purchasing companies over recent years to little good effect.

Initially, these were millions that were largely earned by the cash-cow that was the division of the company in which I worked (called Highbury WV after WV Publications and Exhibitions was taken over by HHC in late 1996).

In recent years, though, these millions seem instead to have been borrowed.

In either case, the companies that were purchased seldom seemed to deliver the promised increases in profitability, and – being charitable – this might account for why staff (along with freelance contributors) have remained underpaid and have received few benefits on top of their salaries apart from some extra days holiday over Christmas.

Naturally, all the while though, it seems that most directors were taking home fat salaries and receiving large contributions to their pension-funds.

Many also received generous stock options, so I’d like to think there might be some justice – brought about by the cliff-edge fall in share prices - though I guess it will only be if we learn about the size of the directors’ pay-offs that we’ll know for sure.

My next motive, it could be said, is personal greed – though as someone who is provably not much motivated by money, I’d be a little upset if that was the way people who knew me thought. But I’ll build a case of sorts against myself, nonetheless.

Upon the closure of CV, I was irritated to be offered nothing more than statutory redundancy (though the company was gracious enough not to force me to come into work every day when there was clearly no suitable job for me in the offing).

It seems churlish here to also mention that the leaving letter (and at least one preliminary letter leading up to it) got the name of the magazine wrong – the final letter calling it “Digital Video Editing” magazine – but perhaps I am churlish by nature.

The statutory pay-off irritated me for a number of reasons, but the prime one was that it in no way acknowledged that the magazine that I had launched and run for seven years had made the company a lot of profit.

I suspect that the profit was well over £1 million and it could possibly have been closer to £2 million – I don’t know exact figures because I was largely kept in the dark.

Of course, the foot-soldiers at the company (among whom I include myself and other magazine editors) were never on any form of pension scheme or profit-share scheme – and the company was still trying to get us to BUY into its employee share scheme (in autumn 2005, as I recall) when the price of shares was approaching its lowest point.

I was also irked that a number of middle-managers (one tier above me) who were made redundant a couple of weeks before me were, I believe, paid off quite handsomely.

However, I don’t know this for a fact because all four are bound by confidentiality agreements that seal their lips on all manner of things about which I can only guess.

My assumption, though – rather than a statement of fact - is that these matters included the company’s advertising sales practices, and that it would take a considerable amount of money to seal the lips of those of the four who we knew chapter-and-verse.

Another personal-greed factor on my behalf, it could be argued, is my vested interest in the DVdoctor.net web site – I own one-third of the company behind that site, DVdoctor Inc, and currently work full time on/for that site.

However the personal histories of the three people involved with DVdoctor clearly show that none of is a make-a-quick-buck merchant.

The site has be run on a non-profit basis for over four years (paid for by the philanthropic John Ferrick) and has hosted CV’s self-help forums and CV’s web site for free, as well as other forums supported by DVdoctor.

The only profit so far made on the site is the few quid that Highbury told me it charged Pinnacle for a banner ad on the front page of CV’s web site for a few months in late 2004 (hugely undervaluing the site in my view) – but no proof of the amount charged (or any share of it) has ever come our way from HHC.

I believe that the DVdoctor site will become a serious money-spinner if, as we are promising, it appeals to everyone from the greenest of newcomers to the high-end professionals in post-production and broadcast - and turns out to be the best video-editing site on the net (or close to it).

If we achieve that aim, the result would be a very large number of visitors.

Our confidence that we can achieve that was boosted by the realisation that the first review we put up - of Tenomichi’s 3D Edit software (in late January) - was, in the first few days of going up, read by something like 50,000 visitors.

That, I believe, is more than five times as many as read anything in any issue of CV in recent years, and yet the review was on a site that was largely still under construction.

If the number of visitors to the site is large – and provably so – then we expect that advertisers will want to advertise and will pay the going-rates for doing so.

However, I can truthfully say that I’ve yet to have one fantasy about what I might spend any earnings upon – apart from paying the mortgage and putting food on the table – since my real aim with DVdoctor.net (other than mortgage/food-related) is to have a job that I want to do, and which ensures that I sleep well every night knowing that I’ve succeeded in doing my job to the best of my abilities.

Oh, and not having above me managers in whom I have no faith or trust is also more important to me than money.

For now, that’s all I want to say, but here are some links to public sites that will enable you to check many of the things I have said.

Useful/related web links

Highbury House Communications main site
HHC financial statements (also accessible from main site)
HHC corporate documents (including acquisitions)
HHC board of directors (also accessible from main site)
Times Online story about the takeover-bid statement issued by HHC
HHC share-price tracking (search for Highbury House) There may be better trackers but since I don’t play the stock market, I don’t know.
Specific link to HHC on londonstockexhange_dot_com
Paragon Publishing’s web site (now branded Highbury Entertainment but making reference, seemingly only to Paragon titles. Why?)
Mike Frey appointed md of Highbury Entertainment
Felix Dennis article on Media Week's site
One of the many postings on DVdoctor_dot_net about Computer Video’s closure
Another of the many postings about Computer Video’s closure
One of the few substantive postings on DVdoctor_dot_net about our plans for the DVdoctor web site
Another substantive posting on DVdoctor_dot_net about our plans for the DVdoctor web site
DVdoctor’s review of Tenomichi’s 3D Edit

That, you’ll be relieved to know, is all for now.

Hope this answers any outstanding questions. If not, feel free to ask, and I’ll try to answer if possible.

Oh, and of course, if Highbury wants to formally respond here it's welcome.

We'd also welcome responses from employees - current or former.

Bob Crabtree
Launch-to-burial editor Computer Video
editorial director, DVdoctor Inc

Richard Choroszewski
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Joined: Sep 28 1999

Hi Bob

Thanks for clearing up some of the blanks in the story

However I do have some sympathy for a Company that relies on more than 50% of their sales going to a near monopoly like WHS who have the power to 'pull the plug' and with little or no notice 'FU' all their business plan projections with little prospect of turning things round quickly.

Hope the DV Doctor site goes from strength to strength though I still like the comfort blanket of seeing my copy on glossy paper

Storm/Edius3.01 PAL 3Ghz Pentium in ASUS P4G8X M/board WinXPProSP2. 3x120G ATA & 2x300G Sata Raid0. 1024Mb DDRAM, Matrox Parhelia, 2xTFT 20" +SB Audigy2Platinum

Jim Bird
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Joined: Sep 15 2000

Hi,

It's a tuff old world out there.

Jim Bird.

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Richard,

Actually, it's rather worse than you imagine, because, seemingly, publishers who want their titles stocked have to pay to do so - and big retailers in other sections, as I understand it, are doing the same to their suppliers, too!

:(

Bob C

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

There's a lot to be said, but I'm not sure how even to begin, save to wish you well in what's to come, Bob. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, we can only hope.

Whether or not a publisher wishes to cut the amount of titles he publishes, or combine titles, is not for me to comment upon. But what does surprise me as a subscriber is the way in which it was done - no warning, with the last issue trailing a never to be seen next issue. I understand my subscription is to be transferred to "Camcorder User". How satisfactory that will be I shall keep an open mind about. I would be more confident if an ordered amalgamation had preceded the change.

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Thanks for sharing that information Bob.

The non-broadcast video editing business is fairly niche. Indeed my ex-boss described it as a cottage industry.

I wonder how much CVs closure, coupled with the <£400 DVD writing PCs from Aldi/PC World et al will affect specialist system builders.

It's still possible to phone the person that desgined, built and configured your editing system & pick his brains.... but for how long?

On a lighter note...."WHSmith, which has $5.3 billion in sales, is coming under pressure from the price-cutters. The bookseller and stationer reported a pretax loss of $253 million in 2004"

Source

Torrent
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Joined: Sep 16 2003

Interesting reading. Thanks for sharing your insight on the whole affair. I look forward to seeing how DVDoctor develops.

Oh, and I couldn't agree more with the poor editorial quality of DVME!

Torrent

DD_UK
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Joined: Apr 24 2002

Retailing is going through a really hard time at the moment and I can't see it getting any better.

The major overheads, rent and rates, are horrendous add that to the fact that most retailers borrow fairly heavily and you can see why.

WH Smith are losing money at an alarming rate, Dixons have close many stores round the country and Alders have just gone into administration.

Making suppliers pay for the privilege of having their goods sold is nothing new.

Argos, Boots and all other catalogues charge the supplier for being included in same. And it gets worse.

I was management accountant for a company that supplied the same goods to both Argos and Boots. Boots decided to have a promotion whereby our product was offered at a 15% discount, Argos immediately demanded a rebate from us.

Argos then decided to stop selling our product and retained £50,000 for 6 months to cover 'returns'.

So I have no sympathy for large retailers.

My other hobby is model railways. There are 4 magazines which cover the hobby (all from different publishers). Each one contained a warning that it was possible that WHS would stop carrying the magazines. To date all of them are still being carried.

The point you don't make Bob is that WHS are also the largest wholesaler of magazines in the country, and that is where the great danger lies.

If they stop wholesaling a magazine, then it really is in trouble.

But can we really place all the blame at the door of WHS? I think not.

For a publisher to have so many titles aimed at the same market doesn't make sense, unless there is some logical progession (eg beginner, enthusiast, semi-pro, etc)

Buy your own admission CV was the most expensive to produce and, presumably, made the least profit and when the odour hit the air-conditioing it had to go.

The worst sin management can commit is lack of communication down the line. This usually leads to (a) failure to listen to people down the line and (b) failure of ideas being passed up the line. It also leads to a total distrust both ways.

A lot of the industrial ills of the 70's can be laid at that door (as well as political doctrine)

Bob, it is all very well trying to turn DV Doctor into a bigger and better magazine on the web, but at the end of the day (literally) you can't take a computer to bed to read it and a lot of people do like to turn off their computers and read.

If you really feel that the web is the way to go, then I really wish you all the luck in the world.

But I still have this nagging doubt that it will not replace a decent magazine.

Have you made enquiries about acquiring the name? This would have two advantages (i) you could call the web site CV (or whatever it is called today) and it would give you the possibility of publishing a mag at some time in the future.

All the best

David

red
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Joined: Oct 1 2000

Whatever pratices WHS apply they've been doing it to all and sundry for years and will continue to modify/adapt their approach to stay in business.
That's the power of High Street presence.

The failure here, it seems to me, is with the board of directors of Highbury for not marketing their various magazines properly.

I say this because if you look at all the assets of the group the golden nugget has been (in their view) discarded along with the mag.

What board of fools would let a magazine with an association to a website like this fold? I mean, you've got experts at your fingertips for f*c*ks sake! ANY mag but this one!!!!

To all partners of DV doctor, I wish you every success for the future, to the board of directors at Highbury, you haven't done your homework boys, fat salary or not.

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

David,

I rule nothing out, and some way down the line, we may consider launching a mag - controlled circulation, or subscription or both.

But, for now, we have enough on our plates with the web site.

What I would say, too, is that what we are doing isn't really replacing a magazine with a web site, at all.

That would be of no use since the readership of CV, added to the full membership of these boards wouldn't deliver sufficient visitors to make a web site viable.

Instead, we aim to have in one place on the web the very best resources for video editors - whether totally green or long-serving broadcast professionals - and all free for the taking.

Now, although it will be the case that some of those resources might be found in a magazine - most of them won't be - and most that are will be there weeks or months earlier than in a mag, and will be better and more comprehensive.

However, lots there will NOT be found in any magazine.

And, if we get the site right - and I intend that we will - what it will therefore be is much MORE than a magazine.

Then is WILL attract visitors in large numbers - and its one down-side, not being readable in the bath or the loo (ruggedised laptop PCs not withstanding) or on a train or anywhere else apart from on a computer screen (unless you print out the pages) become FAR less of an issue.

Bob C

alan wells
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Joined: Aug 13 2000

Bob,

Thank you for posting your "take" on the demise of CV(E) - an eye-opener into the world of big business and I can empathise as similar happened to me when employed by publicly-quoted companies, twice, and I vowed never again to be employed - we set-up our own business (retail) in 1993 and although we have had our problems over the years, they are nothing to the demands of an avaricious big brother who constantly wants more of everything without providing the resources.

It is to your immense credit that your private thoughts and feelings about what must have been happening to you in "running the business", never showed through in your editing of the mag.

Just as an aside to those who may read this but haven't been involved in retail, few customers of mine can understand why I cannot retail at the same prices as ASDA or Tesco - as a for example, whilst ASDA were selling a case of Tennents lager at Christmas for £10, my wholesaler cost was £11.99 + vat. So we cannot compete on price, but we are still in business - there is more to retailing than price!

I have remained faithful to Pinnacle, currently using LE6, and I am also still married to my first wife for over 35 years of marriage - I call her "my first wife" to keep her on her toes! Loyalty counts for something!

When Robbie Fleming set up "In-deep", I subscribed in the hope that I would learn more about my Pinnacle software, the tips and tricks about LE that are available on the Adobe site with Premiere. Sadly, that site didn't progress probably due to lack of other subscribers that then leads to lack of revenue to generate all the other good things.

I wish you and the team well, I am not averse to spending money as a subscriber but hopefully, your team's future site will not be too product-specific, or if it is, my second hope is that it will be all-encompassing re software solutions - we'll just have to wait and see.

Shows such as Video Forum are too far away or too expensive to contemplate from such a location as Aberdeen particularly as I am a hobbyist, but the web can achieve much but without the face-to-face contact.

Good strength and good luck.

Alan Wells

gordon richards
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Joined: Nov 16 2002

Hi Bob,
I hope you accept this in the spirit in which it is sent but it is the veiw of someone who I consider to be just the man in the street. People like Tom, Chrome, Alan & co are what I refer to as the pro's, where as I'm just, and I mean just above the novice standard. So Tom and co might well disagree with my comments.

My point is that I feel that the magazine slightly lost it's way a bit in the last few months and was aimed more at the pro and not your Mr Average. Although I will admit that say Camcorder User is no where near the standard of CV it does appeal more to the man in the street.

Cheack the shelves in WHS and Camcorder User and What Camcorder were always sold out while many copies of CV were left unsold.

On saying this it is still a great shame that the mag has now gone, and for you to lose your position. However someone in your class will not be in the shop window for too long.

I wish you the very best for the future and thank you for being part of producing such a great mag.

Sincerely,

Gordon

g. richards

bcrabtree
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Alan,

Good wishes gratefully received, and some points well made.

The aim really is to produce a web site too good not to succeed, but only time will tell whether we achieve that aim. But it is what I am working day and night towards achieveing.

Co-incidentally, Paul Dutton was today finishing off his next column in Custom PC mag and this highlights the dangers of buying only on price, and, of course, on the dangers for retailers of selling only on price.

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Gordon,

I don't think you say anything (about the mag) that my original posting doesn't say - though you've definitely said it in fewer words!

;)

Also making me wonder whether the length of my diatribe hasn't prevented you from reading it, is the fact that you also overlook my comments about where, in a typical WH Smith store, CV was to be found - if you could find it at all (and if it was even in the shop).

Your good wishes and kind words, though, are much appreciated.

Bob C

housemouse
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I sympathise with many of the sentiments here, but I'd like to add a few thoughts (for reference, I work for a largish UK publisher that falls somewhere between a bucket-shop like Highbury and a proper professional outfit like EMAP, so...)

I don't wish to sound harsh but: if you didn't like what you were being paid, you should have moved on, no one was forcing you to work there. Plus, it's at least partly people putting up with poor pay that allows it to continue. The idea that you can beat the system from the inside seems unrealistic given the evidence. More importanly, however, niche mag publishing is a pretty crappy business to be in many respects. WHich is why the companies that operate in niche publishing are pretty crappy and so are most of the titles. Unless a title happens to hit on a niche that explodes, there are very strict limits on potential future revenues. Ultimately, if there was lots of money to be made then companies would be willing to pay top dollar for the best staff in order to secure those large revenues. But there isn't, so they don't.

As for the move onto the web, it makes a lot of sense but I am surprised to see that you are so confident that you'll be making buckets of cash. You obviously haven't looked terribly carefully at (or have no way of knowing) how much money existing websites make. There are plenty of, for instance, IT news/reviews/etc sites which enjoy massive traffic yet command a tiny fraction of the advertising revenue a print mag gets even though said print mag might have a "circulation" 1/20th the size of the websites monthly unique users. The message is simple - don't go thinking that if get a couple of hundred thousand readers that you can command ad rates as though you had a print mag with that kind of readership. It's the same in most sectors, I'd think. Take www.pistonheads.com - they claim (possibly accurately) 400,000 unique users per month. Car Magazine has a UK circulation (allegedly) of 70, worldwide 100(ish)k. I doubt pistonheads gets a tenth of the ad revenue of Car. I probably gets ad revenue simialar to a title doing 20k a month at best, I'd guess. You might also feel less scathing of the ad sales team at Highbury when you get your teeth into flogging space on your site and look back with rose tinted spectacles to the days when you only had to worry about knocking out a half decent mag. Or you could have a £money spinner" on your hands. I genuienly hope that is the case, but I think you'll be surprised at the massive volume of traffic you'll need to make proper money form advertising (and I'm not just talking about pitiful click-through revenues, just a general attitude even for paid campaigns that traffic has to be an order of magnitude larger for web titles than print mag circulation figures).

bcrabtree
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Some comments to housemouse's words,

"I don't wish to sound harsh but: if you didn't like what you were being paid, you should have moved on, no one was forcing you to work there"

Not sure why you might say that. I don't think I was complaining about my own pay, only about that of other editors.

And I was actively involved in trying to do something about the pay levels and conditions of employment of all Highbury journalists, not just editors - perhaps not surprisingly if you know I've been a member of the NUJ for 24 years.

I was instrumental in the formation of the Highbury-NUJ chapel, and was also likely to have been one of the lead negotiators (a role I successfully carried out at Reed/IPC) when we finally forced the sods [HHC] to the table.

Currently, the union is taking legal proceedings to try to get them there.

Given a choice, I'll usually stay and fight, but, in truth, I didn't feel I had any huge good reason to move on - and inertia, of course, is the driving force of mankind, and I'm no exception.

Also, frankly, at my age, the only job I'd be likely to take/get would be one where I was head-hunted, and it would HAVE to have been something that grabbed my interest.

"More importanly, however, niche mag publishing is a pretty crappy business to be in many respects. WHich is why the companies that operate in niche publishing are pretty crappy and so are most of the titles. Unless a title happens to hit on a niche that explodes, there are very strict limits on potential future revenues"

My guess is that you don't understand just how much money the "crappy" niche titles in our offices generated - or realise that CV was NOT one of the bigger earners.

But, really, I think you miss the point entirely (though I'm glad to see you're wearing your rose tinted specs about the high quality of non-niche mags).

Irrespective of anything else, niche publishing now faces problems that simply didn't exist before W H Smith decided that it would rather give up its shelf space to something that made more money (and that, in terms of the stores' overall appeal to the public may or may not turn out to have been a wise decision).

Really, that was all I was trying to explain when talking about the current vagaries of niche publishing, and trying to set CV's closure into a context.

As for the money side of the DVdoctor website, you are, of course, correct that there is no certainty that the revenue generated will be sufficient to make masses of money.

But it is reasonably clear to me by the generalities and suppositions that you make that you actually know considerably less about the revenue of the better web sites than you try to make out.

Most sites are privately owned, and I can think of no good reason - apart from when trying to sell a web site - why any site's owner would believe it made good business sense to make public its revenue and profit.

And I suspect, strongly, that I may know rather more about such revenues than you do, or you believe I do.

Sorry, that's a moved me a little away from the point I really want to make, which is that I'm not in this just for the money.

As long as all costs are fully covered, and all parties (including myself) are fairly paid for the efforts made, we would be meeting one significant goal.

It's down to us to make the site ever more compelling and to create revenue from as many angles as possible, providing they don't conflict with the editorial priorities of integrity, objectivity and accuracy.

And these are things that are, sadly, lacking from too many print publications, niche or otherwise, and also from far too many web sites.

We are going to have to think original thoughts about what we do, as well as learn lessons from those sites that have been successful, and those that haven't.

Whether we achieve what we are aiming for, only the future will tell, but I'll accept your good wishes gladly.

Bob C

PaulD
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Joined: Aug 31 2002

Hi
Another 'niche' magazine publisher (with an independant and successful business by all accounts) has recently posted at length a message to his Forum readers outlining his thoughts on the revenue stream achievable from a web site ( a popular one with a very active forum).
It outlines what I think are some of the potential weaknesses/threats likely to appear a SWOT analysis done for producing a realistic business plan for a proposed web site :(

quote:
"While we do promote the eSub-only online version of the magazine, we bundle it with the print magazine package to give people on the move/abroad a useful dual-promged approach to reading 'the mag'. However, we do rely on the paid print advertising and readers' exposure to it, to continue to generate significant response to the advertisers/retailers, all of which keeps them coming back and booking adverts with us. The online experience has remained thus far a reasonably ad-free one, deliberately so on our part, as more and more graphics do alter the visible experience of using our site.

However, if more people swung from subscribing to the printed matter and instead chose only to subscribe to the eSub version, SOS would have a BIG problem. Our revenue streams would diminish immensely if we lost print advertising income and cover sales income, even though in theory the eSub makes more profit for us (no pages to print). But it's not that simple... the price of the eSub would have to rise to counter lost print sales, which currently subsidise the web site and this here Forum.

Unfirtunately, advertisers do not value web advertising to anywhere near the same degree as print adverts, which are generally sold at a higher premium compared with web ads. This stems, from what I can gather, from the fact that print ad rates are related directly to the quality of readership that a magazine can deliver, the type of people, their spending power, the fact that sales of magazines are easily proven and thus seem more 'real' than web statistics (even audited ones) that demonstrate unique visitors to a site and number of page impressions etc. SOS's site has these in far greater quantities than our print circulation, but like the advertisers, most business people (me included) still remain unsure of the true profile of the online readership, and there's the rub!

Advertisers like to know who it is that's reading a magazine (and simialrly for web sites), and it is growing increasingly difficult for businesses to ascertain genuine information from their site visitors as to the nature of the visitor (spending power, location in world, what gear they own, etc). Online readers are extremely reluctant to disclose any genuine information about themselves, having heard all manner of scare stories (some real, many are not) about info being sold on to marketing companies with the result that they get pestered with spam and such-like. I'm hesitant about filling out online About You forms as much as the next person, so I fully understand the situation.

SOS, like many sites, attempts to gather valuable information on all of its visitors but you guys don't make it easy for us, even though the info we glean is kept to ourselves and never passed on to third parties without the visitor agreeing to this in advance (such as when entering SOS Competitions). I talk with other site owners in different business fields and they all pretty much agree that this is also the bane of their web lives and is contributing in the main to the slow take-up in web advertising. Regardless of the hype, the take-up and level of advertiser spending globally in the real world on web ads for 90% of sites (some big household names included) is pitifully small compared to the budgets spent on print ads each year.

So until this changes and better ways become available for profiling/quantifying online visitors, mags like SOS will have to rely on their print ad revenue and cover sales for some time to come. Anyway, I like reading print magazines and wouldn't wish to have access only to info on a screen. It tires me out reading it, you only see screen-sized chunks of info at a time, whereas you can glance across a double-page spread and jump quickly and easily in and out of sections and boxouts — even with PDFs and large Cinema Displays, reading articles online is nowehere near as enjoyable (IMHO) as reading a high quality, well-printed, well-designed magazine layout. Of course, each medium has its strengths and weaknesses, and that's why here at SOS we cater for both approaches (print and online versions)."

www.soundonsound.com/forum/... :rolleyes:

I haven't posted this to be negative about future DVdoctor expansion plan - quite the opposite. I think there are many 'strengths' and 'opportunities' in the proposal, but these have to be built upon to counter any 'weaknesses' and 'threats' likely to work against the new web site's success.

harlequin
harlequin's picture
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posting removed by author.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

gordon richards
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Joined: Nov 16 2002

As always Gary, your tone & choice of words is Absolutely Brilliant!

Gordon.

g. richards

house_mouse
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Joined: Feb 2 2005

OK, first off I really didnt mean to cause any offence, I was just voicing my opinion. Although I was kinda olaying devil's advocate, I more or less stick by what I said before, but do apologise if anyone was unduly miffed by my pontificating.

Just to clarify and respond to some of the comments relating to my own hot air:

I'm not a fan of union action, industries in the west that can support high wages tend to have high wages. Those that cannot, do not. It's not as if shareholder return from the likes of Highbury or similar publishers significantly outstrips the market (which would need to be the case really, if shareholders aren't going to get rightly miffed about their returns being shaved by higher wages. This of course doesnt factor the possibility of higher wages driving better quality and better revenues, buts that's another matter). That point about return on investments really holds for mag profits - ie it really doesn't matter what the raw profit is from individual mags is (to some extent anyway) - if the business is not making a healthy return on captial, it cannot really justify higher wages.

As for Hexus, they do a pretty good job of levergaing their site vis-a-vis ads, especially since they got Dennis on board flogging ads. But I'd say they are the exception, not the rule. Maybe they can do the business for the new site, or maybe they don't have quite the right contacts - I wouldn't know. What i do know, however, is that they get nowhere near the ad revenue that a print mag would get with a comparable readership. they'd be taking home millions if they did. And they really, really aren't doing that (yet, they might say!).

Overall, I still think making money out of websites through ads remians pretty tricky - if it was easy all the big publishing houses would be piling in heavily and I may have missed something, but I haven't noticed that happening...

To harlequin:

Greetings you friendly little devil - I never said anything about computervideo itself, I've never read it. Also, just because I said i thought most niche mags are crappy, doesnt mean some aren't fab, but let's be honest, there aren't that many truly fab ones.

I also never said anything about non-niche mags, just for the record since pendantry is the order of the day ;)

Oh, and I didnt forgit to run a spellchocker on my last pist, but thanks for the handy tip!

house_mouse
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Joined: Feb 2 2005

Oh, and PaulD's post fleshes out my sentiments about the challenges facing the generation of revenue from a website - very interesting read, where'd it come from?

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

house_mouse,

Be assured that no offence was taken, it's just that what you said was highly opinionated and seemed not to be grounded in facts - and there's still a good deal of that latter trait to be seen in your latest posting.

So, now, like before, I'll point out when that seems to be case - and with no offence meant when I do that.

And I'll start by saying that you believe (or are giving the impression) that you know more than you actually do about Hexus's finances and its partnerships.

I was going to say, "and, that, of course, let's us know who you are" - but I'll leave the sleuthing, and related claims, to some one else!

;)

Similarly, I'm pretty sure that the return on investment at Highbury - well the side of the company that I was involved with - will have been FAR higher than you imagine, and likely WELL above the norm.

How much of that went to shareholders, I'm not sure off the top of my head, but events suggest that less of it went to them than it should have done, whether or not they thought they were getting a fair rate of return at the time.

And the waste of all that hard-earned money, as much as anything is what is galling about how they operated.

They sucked out a LOT of money generated by the mags in the old WV operation and then pissed it away.

Though how much larger all the director's pension funds have also grown and the pay offs the last lot received when they were finally shown the door will make interesting reading if it ever gets into the public domain in a form that anyone can actually decipher.

Rather than go shit-or-bust for growth (presumably with the intention of doing a Mark Simpson and selling out), it would have been better to have used some of the money generated by "WV" mags to invest in their plant and machinery - the people - as well; and in promoting the mags. And to have also taken a lot more care in choosing what to buy - and they bought other stuff, not just magazine companies.

That's not simply said with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed glaringly obvious to me (and a LOT of other people working there, I believe) all the while.

Virtually every time another new "investment" was announced people couldn't see how the numbers stacked up and were left cringing.

That was bad enough but, having, seemingly, not been called to task by anyone, they then did something worse - they spent money that they didn't have and paid out what a first-year economics under-grad (heck, a first-year A-level student) could have told them was grossly over the top.

Of course, I'm talking about the tree that broke the camel's back - the purchase of Paragon.

I mean to say, £32m for a company that was making, what, a good bit under £3m in the year it was bought and less than half that the year before?

And the daft sods were buying another company for £10m in the same time frame!

And, no, they were not thinking sensibly if they believed Paragon was going to make £6m the next year and £12m the year after.

Again, all said with no intention to offend (Highbury directors and former directors excepted, naturally).

Oh, and PaulD - intereresting post.

I've got a LOT of time for the people who run Sound-on-Sound mag.

But it might be worth pointing out that, in contrast with S-o-S, we at DVdoc do NOT have to worry about whether our creating a great web site would pull money away from a paper mag.

Other people have to worry about that.

But given the events of recent years, it's not likely they'll be doing that, even assuming no one pays the asking price and they're still running things at the old ranch.

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Oh, and Gary and Gordon, please, let's not turn this into a slanging match.

I welcome the thoughts behind the words of support but would prefer to see cogent arguments in place of emotion.

Night all!

Bob C

gordon richards
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Joined: Nov 16 2002

OK Bob sorry and point taken and this is my last comment on the thread.

However, at the risk of sounding obsequious may I say that I, and I'm sure loads of readers out there appreciate what you did for the mag and what you do on this site. Sometimes going the extra mile to sort out problems with suppliers when one of your readers had been party to an injustice.
You may be unware of the respect people on this board have for you but I can tell you that those people will react if anyone even comes near to having a pop at you.

Cheers Bob

g. richards

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Gordon,

Very kind of you to say this.

But the one thing that does need to kept in mind is that my having done x, y or z is no guarantee of my being able, necessarily, to achieve something else in the future - whether or not I believe I can.

So, I do welcome debate. We don't for a moment pretend to have all the answers.

Consequently, my view on the comments made (negative or otherwise), especially those about the prospects for the DVdoctor web site, is that they may be useful in helping us to better choose strategies and directions.

But, as I think is quite clear, I get a little bit irritated if these are not factually based and, instead, largely centre on Chinese whispers, half-overheard statements and other forms of tittle-tattle - all dressed up as informed commentary.

Bob C

house_mouse
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Joined: Feb 2 2005

bcrabtree said:
"And I'll start by saying that you believe (or are giving the impression) that you know more than you actually do about Hexus's finances and its partnerships."

and:
"But, as I think is quite clear, I get a little bit irritated if these are not factually based and, instead, largely centre on Chinese whispers, half-overheard statements and other forms of tittle-tattle - all dressed up as informed commentary."

How so? All I have said is:
1. That they've done a good job getting ads in (I assume you agree with that otherwise you'd wouldnt be working with them)
2. They have some kind of arrangement in which the Dennis ad sales guys sell space on Hexus. Please correct me if this is wrong, it's not exactly a big secret.
3. That they are unlikely to be currently making millions of pounds. Not really pushing the boat out there. if you know of any similar website that makes millions of pounds sterling, I'd love to hear of it.

Really, I can't see how I've made any spurious claims about having info on Hexus or posted any tittle tattle at all regarding Hexus. If you still think this is the case, then I'm all ears for how this could be so.

bcrabtree
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house_mouse,

I'll leave others to put you straight, assuming they feel it appropriate.

Bob C

house_mouse
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I'd rather you did it, seeing as its your particular comments that I have highlighted. Unless of course you'd like to concede that your accusations were at least somewhat unfounded - much as I apologised initially.

house_mouse
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Joined: Feb 2 2005

Well, forget it - ultimately, even if all three statements are wrong (and I dont think any of them are flat wrong) I dont think that I was making particularly earth shattering claims about what I knew and I definitely wasn't passing on Chinese whispers or tittle tattle. That's just BS, and given that there's been some moral high ground monopolising, rather mean spirited and hypocritical in the context of my swift apology.

For the record, the info regarding Dennis came directly from the horses mouth. The other points are perfectly reasonable assumptions. So if that's tittle tattle then you'd better wheel out the dress and get started on the name calling - I suggest Susan for starters.

firefox
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Joined: Feb 3 2005

Bob, all the best in this new venture.

I make my living - and not a bad one - mostly online. PaulD, and housemouse, are right in one respect. It's not easy making money online, particularly for a niche site. Let's look at the options.

Magazines generally charge for ads on their sites on a "per view" basis. Advertisers don't find that attractive, and they've learnt the hard way. They are usually wary/suspicious of CPM deals (cost per thousand views). As VNU, Dennis, ZDNet et al have found. CPM rates can go as low as $0.50 or lower. Bar branding reasons they don't like paying "ground rent" for space on mag sites either.

Then there's the free smilies type/Active-X download programs. They pay well but come with parasiteware and I'm sure you don't want to be associated with the Adware, Malware, Spyware and sundry other rip-offs.

That leaves CPA i.e. affiliate programs, getting paid per click etc. This is difficult to match with the editorial integrity you wish to build up. Besides, you really need to know what you are doing with affiliate programs. It's a dog eat dog world. Browser 'jacking, cookie stuffing and other forms of stealing affiliate commissions require you to have a very clued-up security team behind you - and I don't mean the hardware or software experts like Hexus has. I mean the con savvy internet marketeers.

You can use contextual programs like industrybrain and the Adsense that Hexus use. Well paid in terms of effective CPM but not big enough returns unless you have massive qualified traffic.

There are other routes to making money, of course. For example, build up an opt-in subscriber list and take ads for your in-house newsletter. Size of your mailing database matters, and it will take time to build up. Again, not the route to buying Bill Gates out.

There are very few other ways.

Now about traffic. A key factor in how much you can make is volume and quality of traffic. Sadly, expert hardware and software engineers are dismal at getting traffic. Yes, that's right. Sure, Hexus *think* they get a lot of traffic. According to metricsmarket.com (not very accurate) it's about 8.5K visitor sessions a day. Hitwise, though, isn't far off that figure. Based on that, the ads campaigns I see on the Hexus site, and my experience with monetising sites, I get a picture that Hexus is not a million pound gorilla by any stretch. Don't get me wrong - I think the site's excellent, the content is the best there is in its class, the guys are great, and the design (and software behind the design) is very clever. But, traffic optimising? Nah. It could get at least 10 times more than the current "free" traffic it attracts. It's a shame it doesn't. As the best UK reviews site I'm surprised that several IT journalists in the country whom I've spoken to have never heard of it.

It's not just Hexus. Trustedreviews and others have made the same mistakes as have etailers like Microdirect and Scan who've spent millions on their systems, software and staff. Mistakes Hexus have made range from the ".net" domain (evident from the type in traffic hexus.com gets) ...to not having any "Description" meta tag on any page ...to the dynamic URL (which Google is now a *little* more friendly toward, but still not a very good idea). Why couldn't they track visitors via cookies I'll never know. theregister modified URLs of pages they served and are doing a lot better on traffic now. (Yes, and CV's use of ".net" wasn't that smart either. Sorry)

Anyway, the support from their site will get you off to a good start. And I wish you all the very best. I hope you make at least the few tens of thousands of pounds you need to make from the site to pay your reasonable compensation and cover the other costs, but it won't be easy. I'll watch with interest.

house_mouse
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Firefox, old chap send a message to rogermemoore@gmail.com if you are willing to talk privately on the matter of web publishing - I have a few grasshoper-like questions for your sage-like wisdom. Goddammit, I'd probably pay a consultancy fee!

tomarse
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with reference to firefox's talk of quantifying effectiveness of online ads:

ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) to whom Bob referred right at the top, have a division called ABC ELECTRONIC who do for websites what ABC does for mags and newspapers, ie independently audit traffic to a particular site to reassure media buyers that they're spending their money wisely. very basically, it's based on unique users (ie people) visiting and the number of page impressions they view.

It's relatively new, but gathering momentum as a way for websites to attract media buyers. rte.ie were recently audited.

see www.abce.org.uk for more info.

tom

Bob Aldis
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Joined: Mar 7 2001

Our two new members seem to have hit it off ;)

I am woefully ignorant of business practises but it says a lot about the structure of big business when the editor of a magazine cannot even call himself middle management.

How many layers are there?

BobA

Bob Aldis

StoneFish Media
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Joined: Feb 4 2005

Hi All!

Just like to say, how sorry I am that the mag has closed! I just dont believe it!

Would give my full support to a website!

Kev Higgins
StoneFish Media

firefox
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Joined: Feb 3 2005

"Our two new members seem to have hit it off ;)"

The mouse seems an amiable enough chap but I'm no consultant. And, flattering though his opinion of my knowledge is, I know very, very little of this scary internet place. Not enough to charge for it anyway. :)

I did miss "product sales" as a possible revenue source in my previous post. It was on the assumption that Bob wouldn't want to start flogging Cans o' pus or SPin nacle gear. But, there is money in selling stuff of course.

Mike Banks
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Joined: Jul 30 1999

Don't be too put off with on-line earning potential, I run a much more niche website created in spare time (here's the plug - http://www.recordproduction.com ) and make ends meet so know that if you get the visitor numbers you will probably get, it should be possible.

Best of luck!

Mike

Barry Hunter
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Joined: Nov 30 2001

A simple post

K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple, stupid!

B0B

Just found your post re Highbury`s cock up, thanks for sharing the background on this sad affair. Here`s to a successfull web mag which I`m sure it will be!

You can certainley count on my support ( and controversial posting from time to time)

Barry Hunter videos4all.org

Chris Partridge
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Joined: Mar 17 2002

This is a very interesting thread for many reasons: an interesting insightinto the operations of a publisher and an interesting insight into the workings of companies such as WH Smith.

I work in the media and it strikes me a really good solution would be to try to continue to generate revenue from DV Doctor. This is a superb resource for both the experienced and inexperienced editor alike.

I really think the future is through innovation: such as top-class tutorials through subscription. One of the most innovative sites I have come across in recent years is one which provides tutorials for Adobe Premier. They are created using something akin to FRAPS. Videos of tutorials are downloaded and the author takes you through various tutorials as he does them .. you see the Premier screen at something like 15fps and he narrates his way through it. It's great! And it is just that type of innovation which I really think will help generate revenues for video editing media outside the classic magazine route.

mediaed
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Joined: Dec 4 2001

Hi Bob
I teach high school media studies and found your description of the whole process you went through with the closure of CV totally fascinating. There's enough there for a class lesson. Thanks for giving us such a detailed account.
In fact therre have been a number of very interesting follow up letters which have given me a good amount of professional development and up skilling. Thanks everyone and good luck Bob on the whole website development.
Gordon

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Latest update on the proposed take over.

A deal has been agreed between the boards of Future and Highbury.

The price is £96.5m but this includes Future taking on Highbury's debts of £64.9m.

So what's being provided, directly, to Highbury shareholders, is £31.6 million (each Highbury share being valued at 10p), and of that, a max £10m is cash - the remainder will be in Future shares (each valued, by the bid, at 83.25p).

Read Media Week's take

Bob C

harlequin
harlequin's picture
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Joined: Aug 16 2000

oh .... dear ..... well there goes any integrity in the magazines , if Future has it's way.

Maybe Future will resurrect DV World for the second time.

Third time lucky

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

JonathanGilbert
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Joined: Feb 18 2005

Hey Bob

I remember not so long ago, sending you an email reminiscing on the good old days when I worked as the portable product specialist at Gateway Computers (Also known as Gateway2000). You said, "Jonathan from what I remember, you were always complaining that the management were so blinkered". Yes I did moan, it was a time when IEEE 1394 on a laptop was really new, and I used to demonstrate what the likes of Edit DV could produce in the field, and saw so many vertical application possibilities. As usual, management was full of yes men, too busy kissing senior managements backsides to see an opportunity when it hit them in the face, and they decided to totally ignore this potential. This kind of "Follow the Leader" rather than lead the way and invest in profitable emerging markets attitude, is probably what led to the companies demise in Europe.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is.....We're not that far apart after all. You too have finally held back no more, and made it perfectly obvious what you feel about the senior managemen. How is it that so many complete jerks (with no vision) make it to the top of companies, and subsequently promote the pratts that spend all day making them tea, and making sure they always follow them out for a smoke break, to the golf course etc to kiss more backside! Rather than listen to the people who are actually in touch, and work for a living!!!

Anyway Bob. I am as sorry to see the mag go as anyone else, and will never forget the help you John and Paul gave me whilst I was at Gateway.

Jonathan Gilbert

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
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Joined: May 3 1999

I too was a great fan of Edit DV, and still use its son, Cinestream, in favour of all other NLEs.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.