Changed in 2008, CONSUMER I.T. was chosen as the new name for five-year-old enewsletter called MULTIMEDIA I.T., part of Channel Media Europe Ltd. The eNewsletter targets an audience of European computer retailers (and the distributors who serve them) and particularly those who need international news on products & trends.
MULTIMEDIA I.T. was a good name: instead of describing the customer, it attempted to focus us on what customers would want from us, from our industry. Back then, you still had to explain the future was in video. It seems so hard to relate to that now. Many people thought “Multimedia” meant our Audio/Video title (no, that’s called rAVe Europe.) So we changed our name the same way Apple dropped the word “computer” from theirs.
Much has happened in five years. The consumer side of the market outstripped the B2B side, just as we predicted. Innovation for consumers leads even the enterprises and the big consultants (Forrester, Gartner and others) are making a bundle trying to explain this to enterprises. No longer can a company lock consumer technology out of its doors.
Oddly enough, one of the companies that has done the most to break that barrier was one of the companies that suffered most for it. The classic MAC of the 1980s, the computer that many users loved, was shunned by corporate I.T. managers who hated having a stranger in their midst. Apple’s iconic iPOD forced many enterprises into “podcasting,” iPhones opened the door to enterprise and iPad is being embraced as an acceptable corporate tool.
Once upon a time PC retailers were ignored as superfluous. Mass merchants not even considered. E-tailers unheard of. Today our consumer technology is everywhere. Retailers/Etailers (and the distributors who feed them) are powerful organizations with clout that can even scare the vendors.
GfK and other researchers will tell you the plight of retail today: they make little profit or nothing off most PC sales. They hardly ever got started in software, except for a small range of known brands. Therefore, they depend on a wide range of peripherals, accessories, and a future in services.. In fact, they now depend upon a growing number of SKUs to keep pace with the requisite sales and profit. They depend upon innovation. They depend upon international sourcing.
Our definition of “pan-European readers” is quite different than what you might hear from others. Our pan-European readers are not pan-European because they live in the different markets within EMEA. No, ours are pan-European because we are catering to those buyers, those business executives in our industry that have to leave their home countries (from time-to-time) to find, attract, and hold supplier and distributor relationships.
It’s our thought that if a buyer never leaves his home country (let’s say for discussion, Germany), then he probably can find the news and information he needs in his local German trade media. On the other hand, if that buyer visits our stand at Computex, listens to our keynotes at RetailVision Europe, attends the European Buyers Lounge we sponsor at CES, or reads our channel editorial in CeBIT NEWS when in Hannover…that type of buyer, that special “pan-European” reader needs the wider perspective that CONSUMER I.T. brings.
I’d like to think that we have one of the best “overviews” of the channel side of the industry. We tend to go wide (checking other related industries) and collect our news from the strangest sources (that often turn out to be prophetic or at least illustrative). Many different market research companies (and other press) tell us they appreciate our views, but we’re not a research company. We tend to take the same news that rattles around and we find the significance that many others miss. Particularly the significance for the retail channel where our folks are so busy competing to stay alive.
We can see the appreciation on their faces during the 20+ speeches we make each year to audiences of European retailers, resellers, and distributors.
Bob Snyder, Editor-in-Chief