21st Annual National Online Meeting & IOLS 2000 Electronic Publishing XVIII
A management seminar covering new electronic publishing trends and opportunities

Exploring the Outer Limits of E-Commerce for Publishers & Information Companies
Chairman: Joe Bremner, President, the Electronic Information Group

New York Hilton (6th Avenue at 53rd Street)
Wednesday, May 17th, 2000
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Steven Brill
Tom Miller
Ken Wasch
Cliff Pollan
Andrew Elston
Joe Philport
As the Web emerged, Electronic Publishing has tried to anticipate the emerging challenges and opportunities that the evolving networked environment presents for the publishing and information industries. Over the last five years, as the Internet and the World Wide Web have exploded onto the scene, we have comprehensively covered these phenomena; the tools and technologies required for success in this environment, beginning before most publishers even had Web sites, the plans and strategies of market leaders, the battle between established brands and new Web brands just as it was emerging four years ago, the intersection between information pricing and advertising, and, last year's program was dedicated to portal strategies and tactics, the importance of vertical portals in the battle for customer loyalty and advertising dollars. 

During this time, we have been fortunate to hear from industry leaders in an environment that encourages interchange and discussion. Speakers like Martin Nisenholtz, President, New York Times Electronic Media Company; Mike Wheeler, President, NBC Desktop Video; Pat Tierney, President & CEO, Thomson Reference Group; David Churbuck, the creator and editor of Forbes Web site; Cliff Pollan, one of the founders of NewsEdge Corporation; Paul Brown, President of Lexis Legal Publishing; and others have presented their strategies and responded to questions.

During those meetings, it has been clear that great opportunities are emerging. It has been equally clear that the lines between magazines, books, and newspapers, are blurring; and we have seen some of the clear bright lines between editorial independence and the development of advertising revenues fade. The consequences of these, and other forces, are melding e-commerce with e-content in novel ways.

Electronic Publishing XVIII examines key e-commerce issues that confront publishers and information industry companies as they contend with the evolving environment of networked electronic commerce: positioning, pricing, and competition. 

Since last year's in-depth look at the evolution of portals—horizontal, vertical, and personal—the e-commerce environment has continued to evolve. It now would appear that e-commerce initiatives have overshadowed, both in size and speed of development, their “content-oriented” Web predecessors. In our continuing effort to look beyond what we now understand, this year's meeting will focus on the outer limits of e-commerce for publishers and information companies. Simply put, shopping on the Web is developing some true powerhouses, with Yahoo! enjoying a commanding lead as the shopping portal, followed by an aggressive AOL and Amazon. eBay’s moves into the B2B market and Dell’s expansion of its product line contend with “pure” B2B players like CommerceOne and others. All of these developments fuel the continued expansion of the “commerce” elements of the Web. But like everything in cyberspace, the lines are unclear, and the openness of the Web forces participants to adjust their clearly defined strategies to the near-realtime feedback from millions of customers. 

Most publishers have always served readers and advertisers, but increasing amounts of information about products and services reside on the very shopping sites mentioned above. Will publishers and other information industry players be able to move into the role of doing more for their two constituencies than simply supplying communication channels? Clearly, some are trying—Cahners, VerticalNet, and other business-to-business publishers are trying to be the “e-commerce grease” in vertical business markets. What about more traditional consumer publications? Movie and television media companies have had to settle for a relatively indirect relationship and role in the purchasing behavior of their consumers, but they now own more and more traditional publishers, and they also want more of a role in e-commerce. 

The environment is not an easy one. Aside from well-capitalized Web brands that have emerged while many publishers fiddled, publishers face an impressive array of incumbents in almost any business-to-business or retail segment. Those incumbents want publishers to be their “affiliates.” Is this the endgame for publishers? While the e-commerce competition is formidable, internal battles are equally difficult. Serious debates about editorial standards, journalistic integrity, and other issues are spilling out in increasingly public ways. Witness last year's controversy at the Los Angeles Times, which saw an unusual public apology by the publisher for violating a murky line between advertising opportunity and editorial integrity (a line that apparently had been crossed by other publishers without similar public outcry). 

We will attempt to cover the key issues that face the publishing and information industries as they “confront this opportunity.”

Questions to be Addressed

  • How big is the e-commerce opportunity?
  • What are online shoppers’ current shopping habits?
  • Do publishers fit at all in the Web “shopping flow”?  Where might they be most successful?
  • Will publishers have to make the investment in full transactional capabilities to enable consumers to conduct transactions with advertisers?
  • What services or intermediaries will emerge to manage publisher e-commerce?
  • What are the journalistic and editorial issues, and how are the lines being drawn?
  • Will we see an increase in direct links from inside the editorial content of newspapers and magazines to advertisers’ or retailers’ shopping sites?
  • What are the key criteria for success for publishers and information companies who wish to make the move?
Clearly there is opportunity for great growth and progress in the publishing industry and information industries, but there is also the potential for degradation of editorial excellence into infomercial mediocrity. Our speakers will try to define and size the nature of the opportunity and provide insight and guidance on this emerging landscape. Companies represented will include Cyber Dialogue, Inc., Q-pass, and Competitive Media Reporting, among others. 

Seminar Objectives
Electronic Publishing XVIII will cover the practical implications of the emerging relationships between e-commerce and e-content, specifically;

  • Provide an overview of the current demographics of Web Users, purchasing practices, and perceptions of “content sources” and “commerce sources”
  • Provide participants with a clear understanding of the interplay between journalism, advertising, and commerce, and suggest possible strategies for creating durable business models
  • Through presentations from, and discussions with, leading industry participants, provide an analysis of future trends that will affect publishers and other information providers
Who Should Attend?
  • Trade, scientific, and consumer publishers
  • Product development executives
  • Software and information industry executives
  • Information professionals in MIS and library environments
  • Strategic planning professionals
The Electronic Information Group
Joe Bremner is President of the Electronic Information Group, an information industry consulting firm, and he has served as Organizer and Chairman of Electronic Publishing for over ten years. Mr. Bremner has written and spoken extensively on information industry developments in the United States and in Western Europe. In 1990, Bremner received the IIA’s Distinguished Service Award for “his outstanding contributions to the development of the information industry.” Bremner has organized, and spoken at, numerous industry meetings on strategy, pricing, distribution, product development, and other industry issues.

To be held during the 20th annual National Online Meeting. Sponsored by Information Today, Inc., publisher of Information Today, KM World, Searcher, Computers in Libraries, and Link-Up, and the Software and Information Industry Association, representing more than 500 companies that create, manage, and distribute information in all digital media and print—shaping the information industry of today and tomorrow. 


Time and Place
Electronic Publishing XVIII will be held on May 17, 2000, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., at the New York Hilton, located at 1335 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at 53rd Street), New York City. It is held as a featured event of the National Online Meeting, North America's largest electronic information conference and exhibition.

Included in Fee
The fee for Electronic Publishing XVIII is $350, but a special  $575 combination registration fee will include a full registration for the National Online Meeting (a savings of $200).  Electronic Publishing XVIII includes a cocktail reception Wednesday evening plus morning coffee, lunch, and afternoon coffee.  Organizations wishing to send more than one individual to the Meeting may take advantage of a reduced fee of $295 for all attendees over and above the first attendee, $520 for the combined Electronic Publishing/National Online Meeting registration.  Also included is admission to the Exhibition Hall of the National Online Meeting. Overnight accommodation is not included. A block of rooms at the New York Hilton has been reserved (reduced rates available), and a room registration card will be sent to registrants on receipt of registration—click here for more housing information.
In the event of cancellation in writing before April 24, 2000, the registration fee will be refunded in full. Cancellations received from April 24 to May 5 will incur a 20% cancellation fee.  No refunds will be given on cancellations received after May 5, 2000.

Please complete registration form and return with payment to the address provided. Fax and phone registrations will be accepted, but payment must be received before the Meeting date. Fax: 609/654-4309 Phone: 609/654-6266. You may also register online.


Program Schedule
8:00 A.M.-9:00 A.M. Registration
9:00 A.M. Welcome
Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information 
Industry Association
9:15 A.M. Overview & Objectives
Review of the Internet/Network Publishing Environment
Joe Bremner, President, Electronic Information Group
9:30 A.M. Keynote: Publishing and E-Commerce
Steven Brill, Chairman & Founder, Brill’s Content
General Partner, Brill Media Holdings/Contentville
10:15 A.M. Break
10:30 A.M. The American Internet User Survey, Publishers, and E-Commerce
Tom Miller, Executive Vice President, Internet Strategies, Cyber Dialogue
11:15 A.M. Panel Discussion 
11:30 A.M. Morning Panel: Questions and Answers 
12:15 P.M. Lunch
1:30 P.M. Advertising on the Web Update: 
Commentary on the Changing Roles of Advertisers and E-Commerce Players
Joe Philport, President, CMR Interactive/Competitive Media Reporting
2:15 P.M. The Keys to Frictionless Commerce: 
Implications for E-Commerce and Publishing Strategies 
Andrew Elston, Vice President, Qpass.com
3:00 P.M. Break
3:15 P.M. Rowe.com and NewsEdge Partnership: 
From Information Services to Commerce and Transactions
Cliff Pollan, Co-founder, Desktop Data/NewsEdge Corporation
4:00 P.M. The Role of Editorial Content in the Battle for Transactions 
Speaker TBA
4:45 P.M. Speaker Panel and Audience Discussion
5:00 P.M. Cocktail Reception


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