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2015 International CES

01/06/2015 - 01/09/2015 Las Vegas Nevada

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Macworld to end print edition

New York Post

Peter Longo, just tapped to be the CEO of a newly formed US Media at International Data Group, is making some sweeping changes that appear to be turning the company’s longtime model on its head.

After 30 years, Macworld is ending its print publication with the November issue. It laid off the bulk of its editorial staffers Wednesday. It will survive only as a digital and expo business in the US, although print editions will still be produced overseas.

The changes are part of a bigger restructuring being put in place by Longo, who is based in New York. His Manhattan base is a big change for the company that has always centered its US publications around Boston and San Francisco.

There were also apparently cutbacks at PC World, TechHive and Greenbot — other digital publications published by IDG, which still counts Boston as its worldwide HQ.

Longo had been the CEO of IDG TechNetwork as well as chief digital officer of the overall IDG. Under his umbrella will be publications including CIO, CSO, Computerworld, Greenbot, InfoWorld, ITWorld, Macworld, Network World, PC World and TechHive.

Macworld was one of the last print titles in the stable. PC World had gone all-digital a year ago. Currently, only CIO is still publishing a print edition in the US.

While editorial was hit Sept. 10, it appears sweeping changes will affect the ad sales force as well in a big consolidation.

“We will transition the IDG Enterprise media sales organization from a brand-based to a geography-based structure to make it simpler for our clients to do business with us,” the company said in a statement.

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IDG Outlines Plans Following Restructuring

New CEO talks leadership changes, sales strategy, role of print.

Folio

The dust is still settling on a major overhaul of IDG’s U.S. portfolio—a collection of consumer and B2B brands, a burgeoning ad network, more than 100 events and a nascent video unit, chief among its holdings—but its new top exec, Peter Longo, says the company is now better positioned to take advantage of its strengths.

The group also appears to be significantly leaner however. While initial reports noted that editorial staff, including several in leadership roles, would be leaving the company, C-level positions were also impacted. Matt Yorke, CEO of the company’s B2B division, IDG Enterprise, and Bob Melk, CEO of IDG Consumer & SMB, were not among a list of executives for the newly-formed U.S. Media Group provided by the company. IDG would not confirm the departures of any individual employees though.

Screen Shot 2014 09 16 at 12 52 31 PM Macworld to end print edition

Longo noted that the editorial cuts came from both the consumer and B2B sides, though he wouldn’t provide a headcount. A separate industry source says layoffs extended to sales, custom content and events departments, as well.

The moves come as IDG found itself increasingly trapped in a web of legacy processes—a position not unique to IDG, Longo notes. Readers and advertisers moved toward digital platforms, and new products were adopted to meet the evolving demand, but, despite efforts to shift away from print over the years, a structure originally built to handle printed content and direct sales stood in the way of efficiency.

“We’ve had a number of different sales organizations—some direct, some programmatic, some divided by brand—and we felt like moving our owned and operated brands closer toward programmatic and exchange-based solutions was going to benefit them,” Longo says. “One of the immediate changes was moving the consumer properties—Macworld, PC World, Greenbot and TechHive—into our network environment where our network salespeople could continue to represent those properties on a direct basis, but so we’d also make that inventory available on a programmatic basis.”

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Macworld innovation through the years

SF Gate

The 30th San Francisco edition of Macworldopens Thursday with a showcase of startups that organizers not surprisingly tout as the next game changers in technology.

But predicting the future is always easier in hindsight:

“The machine uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse.’ There is no evidence that people actually want to use these things,”San Francisco Examiner columnist John Dvorak wrote in a column published in 1984 by the then-jointly produced Sunday Examiner & Chronicle.

To his credit, Dvorak correctly predicted numerous reasons the original Macintosh wouldn’t be as big a hit as Apple hoped. But we now know the mouse revolutionized personal computing.

Macworld itself has transformed several times since January 1985, when that first show drew 100 exhibitors and thousands of Apple fans to Brooks Hall. At the height of its popularity, there were two annual Macworld shows, including one on the East Coast.

Center of universe

But San Francisco has remained the center of Macworld’s universe.

The legendary Chronicle columnist Herb Caen described a swanky preshow party at the St. Francis Hotel thrown by David Bunnell, then chairman of PC World Communications, publisher of Macworld magazine and sponsor of the show.

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IDG CEO Friedenberg Sees a Data-Driven Mobile Future

PBS Mediashift

The words “International Data Group” conjure up an old era of computers that took up entire rooms with data-punching experts wearing white coats. And it’s not a coincidence that the International Data Group, or IDG, was founded in 1964 near Boston. But what started as a research firm turned into a series of tech trade publications (e.g. InfoWorld, Computerworld), consumer tech pubs (e.g. PC World, MacWorld), and events that spanned the globe. Now, the private company is looking toward a data-driven, mobile future.

“I think mobile will be fascinating in two areas: How do you gate that content and use that channel to deepen that relationship with readers? And from the advertiser’s perspective and with responsive design, how are you going to leverage video and native ads on those platforms?” said Michael Friedenberg, who ascended to IDG CEO last summer, and spoke to me recently via Skype.

IDG has been slowly moving its U.S. publications from print to digital, moving InfoWorld in 2009and more recently PC World went online-only, with an emphasis on charging annual subscriptions for tablet editions. While newer tech blogs such as TechCrunch and Engadget have gained prominence — and borrowed from IDG’s playbook of mixing content with events and research — IDG continues to plug away quietly. The company has turned its focus to programmatic ad sales with its Tech Media Exchange, and continues its global ambitions by focusing on the emerging MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) area.

While many people wrote off tech trade publications as obsolete in the digital era, IDG continues to expand, diversify and find new ways to serve the tech industry.

Below is an edited version of my interview with Friedenberg, with audio clips for some of his answers.

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CES 2014: a look back at what mattered

TechHive

Innovation certainly was on display at CES 2014—4K HDTV hardware reached affordable prices, there was a tsunami of wearable fitness and health tech, 3D printers popped up everywhere, and smart cars made their mark, just to name a few of the major trends we spotted.

Our team patrolled the International CES show floor all week at searching for the devices and services you need to know about. In the process, we chose 10 winners for our Best of CES awards.

We also had our usual fun selecting other gear, trends, and innovations that caught our interest, which we showed you in our Picks slideshow. And we poked some gentle fun at some of the weird items displayed at this giant trade show in our Pans slideshow.

Here are some of our comprehensive slideshows about International CES 2014…

What you need to know about Apple’s free apps policy

Macworld.com

Apple made waves during Tuesday’s media event when the company announced that its iLife and iWork suite would be free for customers who buy a new Mac or iOS device. But the apps are also free for users who already have the apps installed, and one app is free, period. Here’s our guide to demystifying Apple’s new pricing structure on its iLife and iWork apps.

How “free with purchase” works

When Apple first announced that its iOS apps would be free with the purchase of a new iPhone, I theorized that Apple might include a notification alert after you first activated your new device, with a link to download your free apps. Instead, there’s no link or alert to be found. If you want your free iWork and iLife apps—on OS X Mavericks or on iOS—you have to first visit the Mac App Store to do so. When you do, however, the “Buy” button for those apps will be replaced with “Download” or “Update” (or the iCloud icon on the iOS App Store). I’ll note that iWork and iLife apps only come free for the kind of device you’ve purchased—you won’t get the OS X versions of iLife and iWork for free because you recently purchased a new iPhone or iPad.

Though I can’t yet confirm it (I asked Apple for more details but have yet to receive a response), I suspect that Apple associates the iWork and iLife suite with your Apple ID when you first activate a new device. That way, when you visit the app’s page, it shows up as already “purchased” on your account, and you can download away.

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Hands-on with the iPhone 5s

Macworld

Though the iPhone 5s won’t be available in stores until September 20, we were able to use some demo models for a little while on Tuesday after Apple’s media event announcing them. We scanned our thumbs, took pictures, and tried to imagine what part of space is gray. Here’s our hands-on first look.

The iPhone 5s feels an awful lot like the iPhone 5. It isn’t noticeably heavier in hand, nor is the look particularly different—save for its new color options.

In using the iPhone 5s briefly, we found it speedy and snappy, and iOS 7 looks great. We weren’t able to run any benchmark tests or particularly hungry apps, so there was no way to put to the test Apple’s claims of it being twice as fast as the iPhone 5 in many tasks. As we said, the iPhone 5s feels more or less like the iPhone 5. It’s truly an iPhone with an “s” at the end at its name—a whole bunch of upgraded internals built on top of a phone design that seems quite familiar.

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Screen Shot 2013 09 11 at 3.51.23 PM Hands on with the iPhone 5s

iPads, iTunes, and more: What Apple will and won’t unveil at its 9/10 event

Macworld

The rumors were true: Apple really is hosting another of its flagship events on September 10, and all signs point to its using the occasion to unveil at least one new model of iPhone. My colleague Dan Moren and I have already made a slew of predictions about what new iPhones might look like. But what else might be on the docket? And what’s definitely not going to happen?

No chance: A new iPad

The iPad and the iPhone have plenty in common, so a case could be made for unveiling new versions of both iOS devices side by side. But one of their many commonalities is that both devices garner significant media attention when new versions are unveiled, and Apple would prefer to have that press spotlight shined upon itself twice instead of just once. The iPhone now owns September on Apple’s theatrical schedule, but watch this space for an iPad event in October—just in time for the ho, ho, holiday season.

Very likely: New iPods

A year ago, Apple debuted all sorts of new iPods. It seems as if each year the iPad nano scores a significant facelift, each year the iPod classic is on the chopping block, and each year the iPod touch receives an update to make it more like the latest iPhone. Any new iPhone will (rightly) get the lion’s share of the attention, but new iPods are almost certain to be on the September 10 agenda, too.

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TechHive Fuels Up on Car Tech Coverage through Partnership with Edmunds.com

News release


The consumer tech site, from the publisher of PCWorld and Macworld, forges a partnership with car-shopping resource Edmunds.com to expand car tech coverage

SAN FRANCISCO — TechHive, the newest consumer tech media brand from IDG, has struck a partnership with popular car-shopping resource Edmunds.com to expand its car tech coverage and help its audience find their automotive sweet spot.

“Automakers realize that today’s drivers want cars that work well with their personal technology,” notes Jason Snell, SVP, Editorial Director for IDG Consumer & SMB, the division that manages TechHive. “As important as smartphones, tablets, and always-on Internet connections have become to all of us, it’s become far more important for our cars to fit into our digital lives.”

With the unique, collaborative editorial partnership, Edmunds.com will bring their auto tech expertise directly to TechHive’s audience to help them get the most out of their devices. TechHive editors will bring their consumer tech expertise to the Edmunds.com audience of car shoppers to help them make the best tech choices. Content produced together will appear on both TechHive.com and Edmunds.com as it’s created, with the first feature length story, Best Tech-Friendly Cars of 2013, slated for this spring.

 For the full release click here

IDG Calls On ‘Hero’ Display Ad Units To Save The Banner

Adexchanger

In the two months since tech publisher IDG finished a major redesign of its PCWorld, Macworld and TechHivesites, the company is ready to expand the centerpiece of that effort: the “Homepage Hero” box.

The box is intended to serve as a front door for each site, displaying a large slot called the “Content Hero,” where editors display the biggest stories for each day, with one section saved for sponsorships sold by the IDG Consumer & SMB division, which operates the sites. The Hero units seems like yet another bid by a publisher to “go beyond” the 728×90 banner ad to attract lucrative brand awareness dollars. But IDG Consumer & SMB CRO Brian Gleason is quick to tell AdExchanger that while the redesign does reduce the number of ad units on a page in favor of the larger, higher priced Hero unit, the format is ultimately being used to complement regular ad spots, not replace them.

“There’s certainly a place for a banner, even today,” Gleason said. “There’s just not a place for nine units on a page. Otherwise, it starts to look like Nascar – a logo placed everywhere. That’s part of the reason we did this — there’s more breathing room for both consumers and advertisers.” Within the past few weeks Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Brother and TrendMicro have tried out the Hero units, which IDG has claimed to have yielded average click rates of between 2 and 4%

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IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites

Business Wire

PCWorld, Macworld, and TechHive, get a big boost in click-through rates with high-impact ad placements

SAN FRANCISCO—   Two months after the launch of redesigned HTML5/responsive websites, IDG Consumer & SMB is seeing encouraging results from its changes to PCWorld.com and Macworld.com, along with newly launched site TechHive.com. Overall, ad placements are delivering an average click-through rate (CTR) around 80% higher than pre-redesign levels.

IDG Consumer & SMB’s sites are also performing well against industry benchmarks. Ad units scheduled as run-of-site are delivering an average 0.38% click-through rate, compared to the tech industry average of 0.11% (MediaMind Global Benchmarks 2012). All three sites have better than average click performance with content and user targeting as well.

“We’re very pleased with these metrics,” notes IDG Consumer & SMB Chief Revenue Officer Brian Gleason. “We focused our redesign efforts on giving users visually-rich and intuitive websites that work across devices. We also wanted to make sure our advertising partners had a prominent place among our content. We’ve hit the mark for both readers and marketers.”

InCaseHero Macworld 0912 300x281 IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites         SamsungHero TechHive 0912 300x285 IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites

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