The Newsletter of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the International Interactive Communications Society - April 1995By Trisha Gorman
Braving one of the last ferocious winter rainstorms of the season (at least for those coming from S.F. and the East Bay), a crowd of between 200 and 250 members sloshed their way to Cupertino in order to attend the monthly meeting on the subject of online publishing of the Internet. They weren't disappointed.
Ken McCarthy, panel moderator and founder of E-Media started out the discussion by identifying some of the advantages for developing content for the Internet. As publisher of the Internet Gazette and Multimedia Review, he has become keenly aware of the recent exorbinant increases in the cost of newsprint; publishing on the Internet dispenses with these concerns.
He also noted some advantages to publishing over the Internet as compared to on CD-ROMs: a lower financial barrier to entry in terms and the ease of correcting errors and incorrect information - unlike the problem facing a CD-ROM developer who has already pressed thousands of disks by the time the mistake is discovered. But perhaps the most profound advantage of Internet publishing is bypassing poorly-defined distribution channels, and the problems associated with getting products on retail store shelves and keeping them there. Not to mention the need for all those middlemen to be paid for the trouble.
"With physical media, the price structure is a major problem," he said. "You must charge enough for the distributor and retailer to make money, yet low enough to attract customers. At the same time, you as the developer are responsible for marketing and advertising. And after all is said and done, you don't know who is actually purchasing your titles when you distribute your content on discs. The customer's relationship is with the store. Being able to keep track of who is purchasing your material is one of the most compelling aspects of doing business on the 'Net."
McCarthy believes it makes sense for every company to have an Internet connection, just as they would have a phone , whereas it isn't necessary for every company to put out a CD-ROM. He thinks of CD-ROMs as the "coffee table books" of digital media: lovely, useful to some, but essentially an unnecessary luxury.
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