Wednesday, June 13, 2007

PC World or Consumer Electronics World?

It seems like every time a new PC World or PC Magazine comes out, there are a few more letters from readers who hate the direction these magazines are going. They want PC content, not general technology news. I agree.

The editors, of course, don't care what their customers want. They think they know better. There is a market for consumer electronics magazines. Besides, HDTVs are kinda like LCD monitors, right? And cell phones run Windows, right? See, PC stuff!

Besides the fact that an HDTV does something totally different from an LCD monitor, and cell phones, do not run Windows, they run Windows Mobile, these magazines' titles dictate that they be PC related. In other words, nobody who wants to read a consumer electronics magazine is going to pick up a magazine called PC World. They will more likely pick up Consumer Reports.

But I wasn't really sure how bad the problem was until I started to look at some statistics. I took PC World's latest issue and the 100 Best Products of 2007 article, and analyzed it a bit. I classified each item into one or more of 33 different categories. Here's what I found:
  • 72 of the items were PC related
  • 31 were not PC related (or were both)
  • 72% of the PC related categories had only 1 or 2 items
  • 44% of the PC related categories had only 1 item
  • The ratio of PC related to non-PC categories was 18/15
So you see, the problem is pretty bad. Why are there items that fit in such categories as "Portable Music Players", "Phone Apps", or "Digital Camcorders"? These have nothing to do with PCs! OK, maybe they can connect to or sync with a PC, but they are not PC products. An mp3 player is not for using with a PC, it is for listening to music. A cell phone application is not for using with a PC, it is for using with your phone.

This is so obvious, but the big headed execs at PC World and PC Magazine can't figure it out: some people want consumer electronics content. But these people are not subscribers to your magazines! They are going to get a magazine that sounds like a consumer electronics magazine, and likewise a person who wants PC content is going to get a magazine that sounds like a PC magazine, like, for instance, PC Magazine! Why can't they figure this out?

None of their subscribers want consumer electronics content. If they don't see this soon, they won't have many subscribers left to put up with them.

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