Shifting IT media landscape in Canada

It’s a sad day when another publication bites the dust in Canada. ITBusiness.ca, formerly Plesman Publications and one of two longstanding IT publishing houses, was purchased earlier this year by rival ITWorld Canada. As part of the consolidation, several publications from IT Business have been folded in or simply folded, including one of the patriarchs of Canadian technology trade papers, Computing Canada.

The two competing IT publishing groups had apparently discussed merging at various points for the past several years, after the tech bubble burst, but a takeover/merger never materialized. Transcontinental, owners of ITBusiness, finally said yes to the last proposal, as part of its divestiture of several properties.

I’ve never been a fan of media consolidation, but I’m heartened by the editorial leadership at ITWorld Canada. Dan Mclean, publisher of all the pubs offline(ComputerWorld Canada, NetworkWorld Canada, CIO Canada) and online (ITWorldCanada.com), is one of the most respected IT journalists and former analysts in the country, and is increasingly wrapping his head around the business of running trade pubs. He has good instincts, good judgement and is building a mixed roster of green and experienced staff.

At a meeting with Cohn & Wolfe consultants in Toronto last week, Dan provided some insights to the changes, including ITBusiness.ca continuing to operate, at least for the foreseeable future.

Will a single IT trade house have too much influence in Canada, both from an editorial and advertising perspective? Dan promises not to act like the monopoly his publications largely enjoy (though inside ad sales reps must be licking their chops…).

We’ll hold him to that… 🙂

As the tech industry continues to emerge from its post-bubble hangover, more mainstream Canadian business pubs may see tech as an opportunity (i.e. ad dollars), which is good for tech journalism. Specialty pubs like the the Globe and Mail’s TQ (Tech Quarterly) is just one example.

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