IT PRO mag revealed

…the world’s leading… is claiming a scoop by publishing “everything you need to know” about Dennis Publishing’s new IT PRO magazine which launches in “mid-July”. It features a number of well-known IT journalists and will focus on the enterprise and larger SME end of the market in order to differentiate itself from sister-title PC Pro.

Earlier this week I was at a new biz pitch to a software company where the marketing director mused what the difference was between Computing and Computer Weekly and how IT Week fitted in to all this. Now we have to ask how does IT PRO fit in as well? It will be interesting to see how all this pans out and how PC PRO differentiate itself from IT Week.

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6 Replies to “IT PRO mag revealed

  1. Hi Stuart. IT Pro is competing with Silicon, The Register, ZDnet and VNU Net I thought, rather than the print mags.

    I've worked with some of the IT Pro writers over the last few months and I'd say, were I to be guessing, that it's style going to be like a practical IT Week / Computing mashup but online.

    As for IT Week and the software company you spoke to – ihmo it fits in quite neatly alongsite its sister paper Computing and its rival CW. The audience and content are pretty different. imho 🙂

  2. Stuart/Drew,

    I'd be somewhat concerned about the fate of a marketing director who was still concerned about "where IT Week fitted into all this" — eight years after the title's launch.

    Drew's right about the positioning: follow the content focus, and it becomes obvious. Since the dawn of time, IT managers have split down the middle in terms of their approach — into tech-oriented executives and business-minded counterparts.

    The relative positioning of the weeklies reflects that. IT Week appeals to the former, Computing to the latter — and at RBI, Computer Weekly (IMHO) attempts to do both.

    IT Pro? It's going to mount a straight-down-the-middle appeal to technically-minded IT managers and professionals.

    The new site's technical & reviews focus means that it will have very little in common with Computing.

    FWIW, I suspect that IT Pro *will* target IT Week's online effort very heavily. I'd be very surprised if Dennis hasn't adopted IT Week's traffic levels as a near-term indicator of success.

    Apart from that, I expect that Dennis's biggest initial target will be Techworld (IDG).

    In positioning terms, Silicon exists in another world to IT Pro.

    Meanwhile, the Register, ZDNet and VNUnet boast traffic levels that are orders of magnitude bigger than IT Pro can hope to generate in its first year. (No criticism intended — it's just that the Big Three have been around for a long time. . .)

    [Fair disclosure: I was editor and later publisher of Computing in the mid- to late-1990s.]

    For more insight into these and other tech media imbroglios, get yourselves over to


    Peter Kirwan

  3. Peter/Drew

    I think the comment was more tongue in cheek about the number of IT mags, publishers and websites and the lack of distinct USPs between them. We all understand the positioning, lots of readers aren't.

    The Register has a very clear brand and style that readers that registers as distinct.

    Lots of readers I've spoken to struggle to remember differences between Computing and Computer Weekly. It also interesting that despite reading content online the 'brands' of print titles appear to be much stronger than say VNUnet or ZDnet.

    It's for that reason that I'm intrigued to see how IT Pro will gain recognition, which is different to traffic and visitors. If a story appears on The Register and people talk about it they nearly always know where they read it. The same doesn't apply to the other titles/sites where people frequently aren't sure of where they saw it.

  4. Bang on and fair enough. But…

    Did I ever tell you the one about the well-known British software entrepreneur, running a major quoted company, who not only issued orders to his marketing director on where to spend the company's seven-figure ad budget. . . but did so according to reading habits formed 25 years ago when he worked as an in-house developer reading Computing and Computer Weekly?

    There's no excuse for marketing directors being anywhere near as confused as readers. Plenty of differentiators (even a few USPs) do exist — if you know where to look.

    Sadly, many marketers and even some media agencies don't know where to look. As a result, ad budgets are often spent inefficiently. That creates the problem of revenue flowing to the good, the bad and the ugly in equal proportion. And that creates a problem for good publishers who want to invest. . .

    The result is a half-broken market, which is a pity.

    This is one reason why I always recommend that clients get smart PRs involved in developing overall campaigns (including ad buying). Most PRs aren't familiar with the intricacies of traffic and circulation (although arguably, they should be). But they usually have an instinctive feel for which media are getting it right in audience terms.

    Is PR the new advertising? In more ways than one, perhaps…


  5. Hi Peter – all the positioning and marketing gubbins sounds really convincing but I'm reminded of the time I got a call from the CIO at British Airways thanking me for a story on the front page of Computing. The story was actually on the cover of Computer Weekly. But to a reader, they're all just little magazines about computers – and the differentiation is even harder to make online, surely?

    I think IT Pro will have an incredibly hard time convincing IT managers that it can offer something that they don't already get from Computing, Weekly, ITW, Silicon, ZDnet, Cnet, InformationWeek, Techworld etc etc etc

  6. Sally

    Can't argue with any of that — at least not too much. But here's a few thoughts…

    1) Among some readers, the Ctg/CW confusion is real. I've seen it rear its head in focus groups, but here's the thing: no-one really knows how widespread it is. (Many readers stick with one or other of the titles: presumably they're not confused.) In markets crowded with free media, this is always going to be an issue — it's no different in financial or, say, construction trade markets.

    That said, marketers are paid to know better. The positioning differences are real, and while not every reader "gets" it, many of them do, in the same way that they can tell the difference between the Guardian and the Telegraph.

    Over the years, I've met some marketers who shrug at the media market's "positioning gubbins" as you call it — and throw up their hands in horror at the confusion.

    And I've met some who study it carefully, stick with it, and exploit the angles with subtlety. No need to tell you which group tends to prosper. . .

    2) In this market, differentiation isn't impossible — IT Week managed it when it launched nearly a decade (!) ago. But ask anyone who was on that original team, and they'd agree with you that it was incredibly challenging, and took a long time.

    3) I think you're 100% right (I think Stuart said this too) about differentiation being harder online. Search and browsers mean that reader engagement and brand loyalty is lower than it once was for print. There's also the Google News problem. Plus, the speed of online news delivery creates its own problems — a lack of editorial voice, leading to lots of vanilla copy, and reduced reader engagement.

    Plus the UK-based "Big Three" — The Register, ZDNet and Vnunet — already dominate reader mindshare. It will take a long, long time for any competitor to get near them in terms of traffic. Maybe nobody can. It's very possible that the race for big audiences has already been run — at least in B2B tech media.

    4) Is there anything going IT Pro's favour? Well, yes, I think so: it's got a low cost structure and (from what I can tell) realistic aims.

    Plus this: IT Pro appealing to technically-minded IT managers and influencers. Online, at least in terms of UK-based media, this is still a relatively underserved market.

    And with respect to IT Pro's direct competitors, I don't think that anyone has yet made a go of it. I think this is partly because it's such a demanding audience in editorial terms. Because of this, it's possible that user-generated content is the way to go (think of MSDN's Channel 9…)

    But: the technically-minded influencer audience is growing more and more important for B2B tech marketers (lots of reasons for this, but the rise of enterprise open source is one of them).

    In my view, the CXO schtick has been overplayed by too many marketers for whom it's inappropriate, and for too long. Most of the time, it's now a lazy cliche. . .

    So that's the opportunity for Dennis — maybe a modest one in the short term, and with plenty of traps and snares attached, but real enough.

    As for Dennis's delivery, well, who knows?

    I'm waiting to see — they might play a blinder, they might not. You never know quite what's coming down the pipe. . . I was told yesterday that the launch is still "imminent". . .


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