If you want to know about InnerFidelity, you will need to know about four things:
- Source Interlink Media - This is the mother ship. Source Interlink Media (SIM) is the largest men's enthusiast periodical publisher in the United States.
- Home Tech Network - Covering audio, video, and photography for SIM, the Home Tech Network is a family of magazines and websites dedicated to bringing you the best information on capturing sight and sound for the contemporary enthusiast.
- InnerFidelity - This website. A place to turn for honest and accurate personal audio product performance advice and information.
- Tyll Hertsens - Editor in Chief for InnerFidelity.com. The man at the wheel, looking for the way forward to great personal media experiences.
Let's take them one at a time.
Source Interlink Media
Source Interlink Media is the largest men's enthusiast periodical publisher in the U.S. with titles like: Motor Trend; Hot Rod; Motorcyclist; Bike Magazine; Surfer; Skate Boarder; Powder; Stereophile; and many others. With 78 paper magazines, 101 websites, 50 events, and a number of TV, radio, and mobile media outlets, SIM garners 9 million magazine readers and 181 million page views per month, and 1.8 million event attendees annually. SIM generates over a billion dollars in revenue annually. You'll almost certainly be familiar with some of the SIM brands.
I am immensely pleased to work for SIM. There's a big, big difference between companies simply publishing consumer information, and those that strive to publish content for enthusiasts. One publishes for quantity, keywords, and search ranking; the other publishes to enlighten and attract enthusiastic people. My sense after the first year with SIM is that they get this. Enthusiast content is expensive because its cost is based on the quality of the content, but those qualities attract loyal readers who are interested in the topic. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that "gets it."
Home Tech Network
The Home Tech Network is a family of publications within SIM dedicated to highlighting the best in sight and sound products for enthusiastic users. It includes (click names to view):
- Stereophile - For 50 years, America's premier Audiophile publication, dedicated to great music reproduction and all that entails. John Atkinson has been masterfully at the helm of this magazine and website for decades.
- Home Theater - Bringing you information and insight into the technologies that deliver excellence in the reproduction of film and video in your home. Available in both print and web.
- AudioStream - Like InnerFidelity, AudioStream is a new addition to the Home Tech Network focusing on the rapidly developing area of computer audio. From home media servers to streaming clients, AudioStream endeavors to illuminate and clarify this complicated and ever-changing aspect of audio reproduction.
- InnerFidelity - This here website, which intends to bring you the best in personal audio products, and encourage and inform those with an enthusiastic appreciation of personal listening.
- ShutterBug - Bringing you the latest in the the art and science of photography, ShutterBug is the go-to site for photography enthusiasts. There is great editorial and product reviews, of course, but ShutterBug is also a vibrant community of shooters, exchanging tips and tricks on this wonderfully gadget-intensive topic.
The Home Tech Network receives corporate oversight by Senior Vice President Howard Lim, but group strategy and day-to-day operations is handled by Audio & Video brand manager Keith Pray. It's important to mention here that InnerFidelity is a business proposition with three distinct constituent interest groups: the publisher; readers; and advertisers. All three must benefit greatly, or the publication won't survive.
Just as the industrial age made goods much less expensive through manufacturing automation, the information age has made access to content cheap and easy. That makes the job of publishers very difficult as the price of advertising plummets. $5000 full page ads are now fleeting banners netting pennies, or fractions of pennies per view. Instant access and search engine rankings dramatically narrow the number of publications that will succeed. Where once many could survive in the top tier of a market, now only one or two thrive. For example, Amazon, Google, and Facebook stand far ahead of their competitors. If a web/information business is to thrive, it needs to be very, very good--if not the best.
Keith knows this, and works very hard to ensure extremely qualified people are put into the Editor in Chief driver seat at the various Home Tech Network properties. He also does a great job empowering the editors to produce content that will attract a solid following of audio/video/photo enthusiasts. The Home Tech Network editors' task is to produce more than just accurate, informative content. If we are to be relevant we must act as agents for good in our respective market areas, and be among the leaders in the dialog that promotes a healthier market and products that increasingly satisfy enthusiasts. Though we must do both, I believe the opportunity to be a voice for enthusiasts may be more important than being a voice to enthusiasts.
But there's another part of the equation: advertisers looking for a place to display their product. The Home Tech Network has a very experienced sales team who are in close contact with a wide variety of advertisers. Many times an advertiser would like to place ads for a new product, but feel Stereophile (for example) might not be quite right for the new product. The company Paradigm has recently moved into the world of personal audio with in-ear monitors and small desktop speakers. While advertisements for their traditional lines of high-end gear would be well received in the pages of Stereophile, these new personal audio devices might be less attractive in those same pages. Keith's job is to remain aware of manufacturers' desires to have new and more appropriate venues in which the these ads may be more favorable placed.
With the burgeoning activity in the world of personal audio, and headphones in particular, demand for a web site that served that market escalated. Keith Pray, John Atkinson, and the Home Tech Network team have been well aware of the need for a personal audio website to serve readers and advertisers for years. All that was needed is the right editor to lead the charge.
And that's where I come in.