Earlier this year I had written this post about the gadget magazine bubble. The reason – there were five titles or so in the works which catered to the whole connected lifestyles. Well some of them have finally started to come to market. Cargo, even at its best is a pale imitation and a rather boring take on Lucky. Last week, I spent a whopping $5 on Connected from Primedia, and my first impression – it is boring, too trade pub like, and lacks complete and utter imagination. After reading the first issue, which has one surprising story about the founder of Monster Cable, I can safely say, that it is actually outdated. There is no analysis, and of course little insight.
Which brings me to the big question: do we really need these magazines? From a reader’s perspective, I don’t think so. Connected Home is an early adopter market, and will remain so, for some time. (Reasons are in my original post!) If you took the RSS feeds from five blogs – PVRBlog, Gizmodo, Engadget, PaidContent and EHomeUpgrade - and aggregate them, I am fairly certain that you can easily put together a web-only publication. Add a few other sites like Russell Beattie’s blog, and Broadband Reports, you can get a fairly indepth look at various technologies, their impact and the new devices which are coming to market in real time. Analog pubs for the connected lifestyles are a truly pointless exercise. The early adopters need information now – now wait for a monthly publication to show up.
You get context, and you know that most of these people have no agenda, and are going to be brutally honest about everything. I find that experts in the blog world are and will continue to do a better job that many journeymen reporters. I understand the allure of the dead tree media – I work for one – but I think most convergence companies should be better off reaching their target audience through these specialized blog-pubs. In time when the connected home becomes a mass market phenomenon, then mags like Wired would take the lead. Take my advice – unless they send you a free subscription, don’t bother with these magazines.