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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Media developments during the 22nd EU PVSEC

Greentech Media, Photovoltaik, and PHOTON

Although Greentech Media Launches Independent News and Analysis Website occurred on September 4, 2007, I bumped into Greentech Journalist Rachel Barron at the official 22nd EU PVSEC press conference on Monday after the Opening Session. Greentech Editor Jennifer Kho and Ms. Barron are both Red Herring alumni. I was an avid reader of Ms. Kho’s solar articles last fall and even linked to one.

Greentech Media, Inc., was founded by Scott Clavenna and Rick Thompson last of Light Reading, an online publication with the tagline: NETWORKING THE TELECOM INDUSTRY. Greentech Media’s President and CEO Clavenna introduces the website in Welcome to Greentech Media. Greentech has established partnerships with the Prometheus Institute and Rob Day of @Ventures as the exclusive host of his Cleantech Investing Blog. Greentech Media secured $1 Million in Series A funding back on May 21, 2007, in a round led by Northport Private Equity and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

I think I need to purge my broken RED HERRING Energy link and replace it with Greentech Media.

Since Intersolar 2007, the folks who launched Photovoltaik - Das Magazin für Profis, Solarpraxis AG (FRA:SPA) and Alfons W. Gentner Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, have been busy developing a Special 2007 International/American oriented English edition of Photovoltaik – The Professional’s Magazine. The cover story is Ewing Oil Turns Solar interviewing Larry Hagman, Actor and Renewable Energy Supporter. Mr. Hagman is presenting at the Closing Plenary Session of Solar Power 2007.

Solarpraxis was providing gratis sample copies of the Special 2007 edition from a shared stand with pvXchange at the 22nd EU PVSEC Exhibition. I had a chance to chat with Solarpraxis AG CEO Karl-Heinz Remmers on the Metro back from the FIERA MILANO RHO, and the Solarpraxis team will be in attendance at Solar Power 2007, and I believe (almost 100% certain) Solar Power 2007 attendees can expect copies of the Special 2007 edition to be available.

I can’t confirm if this is new news, but Solar Verlag GmbH, the publisher of PHOTON magazines, will launch an Italian version, PHOTON – il Mensile del Fotovoltaico (link points to PHOTON International at post time), starting with the January 2008 edition (see PHOTON 9/2007, p. 27). The magazine has a cover price of €4.20. If I am reading the italiano right, a 12 month annual subscription costs €44 per year (€36 for students) and €84 for subscriptions outside the European Union.

This pricing is similar to German and Spanish PHOTON versions, but, for some reason, a 12 month subscription to the PHOTON International English version costs €214 per year! PHOTON International does not even have a price printed on the cover. PHOTON International claims the regular newsstand price for 12 issues is €321 or an eye popping €26.75 per issue. PHOTON International sells back issues since February 2002 for €25 (PI 9/2007, p. 47) versus the 22nd EU PVSEC Special Conference Price of €15.

While, in fairness, PHOTON International subscribers have more perks than even PHOTON - das Solarstrom-Magazin subscribers, do these perks justify an almost five (5) times higher subscription price?

This pricing discrepancy could make spot market Polysilicon look cheap.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous commentor s said...

I've only seen one copy of Photovoltaik, and only a few of Photon Das M-S, but I might say that all three publications serve different readerships. I think Photon Das M-S presents more to the technical-minded consumer/trader of PV industy products, and I am not speaking, necessarily, about end users, who might read Solar Today, or its EU counterpart, etc. Photovoltaik seems oriented to commerse-minded readership w/ a technical empasis, while Photon I serves those involved in the PV production industry from the inside; sort of, very loosly, like a trade journal. And that may be why the Photon I edition is so expensive; the target base is small compared to the cost of production, so the price for the item is quite high. In additon, in the EU, you can buy Photon I pretty much out of any well-stocked newsstand; not so here, in the states. It is not commonly known to exist and is mostly read by industry insiders, who are likely to have their employer pick up the tab for the subscription. That may also be a support for the high cost; a situation where, for a large part of your readership, money is no object.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Edgar A. Gunther said...

I am in basic agreement with your comments, but I do not see large differences between PHOTON International and PHOTON - das Solarstrom-Magazin besides the language. There is significant overlapping coverage, although articles tend to be rewritten and not just translated from one publication to the other. I consider both of these publications trade journals. PHOTON International appeals to members of the worldwide PV industry speaking English as a first or second language. With no direct competition, PHOTON International pricing is inelastic. Compare this to trade publications in established industries like semiconductors where verified subscriptions are provided free to qualified industry professionals. These trade publications are based on an advertising model. Last I checked, every PHOTON publication has plenty of ads.

10:27 PM  

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