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Media companies find new opportunities in VoIP

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Media companies are moving swiftly to satisfy the growing interest in Voice over Internet Protocol.

Jupitermedia Corp. announced last week the launch of a new niche Web site covering Voice over Internet Protocol. The Enterprise VoIP Planet site (voipplanet.com) is aimed at IT managers who are contemplating the move to VoIP phone service. Avaya, a provider of VoIP telephony systems, is the exclusive launch sponsor of the site.

The announcement of Jupitermedia's site followed the January launch of a similar site by TechTarget. That site is located at searchenterprisevoice.com.

At voip.cnet.com, CNET Networks offers a tutorial on Internet telephony. The site is mainly aimed at consumers.

VoIP is one of the hottest growth areas in technology and telecommunications. Technology research firm IDC said the market for enterprise IP telephony reached $500 million last year, an increase of 50% over 2003. IDC forecast the market will reach $1.90 billion by 2008.

A decade ago, an arena such as this would have prompted the launch of numerous trade publications. The sprouting of fewer printcentric media properties surrounding VoIP shows how the media business has changed over the past several years.

"Ten years ago, Ziff and CMP and IDG, not to mention some of the smaller players, would have launched magazines," said Alan Meckler, Jupitermedia's CEO. "Obviously, it's easier to be a player online than it is with a magazine."

Paul Gillen, general manager-network media group at TechTarget, agreed that coverage of VoIP was best left to the Internet.

"VoIP is basically a platform, and platforms have historically been difficult long-term plays in publishing," he said, pointing out that magazines covering platforms, such as UNIX or Windows, have typically had short shelf lives.

That's not to say there aren't any magazines covering VoIP; there just aren't as many as there might have been covering a growth technology before the Internet altered the media landscape.

Technology Marketing Corp. lauched Internet Telephony in 1998. In addition to the magazine, TMC covers VoIP through events, a Web site and research.

Pulver.com has a huge presence in the Internet telephony market. The company is best known for its Voice on the Net (VON) conferences. It also generates research and publishes "The Pulver Report" and VON magazine.

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