New sector gives print an energy boost

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Even while b-to-b media in general may be struggling, certain segments are doing well. PennWell Corp., which publishes Oil & Gas Journal and other trade publications, saw an opportunity in the solar energy industry and plans to publish a print magazine serving the growing sector starting in March. Photovoltaics World, to be published six times a year, will cover the manufacture of photovoltaic solar cells around the world. It will have an initial circulation of 20,000, half of which will be digital. “We're going to make our numbers,” said Kristine Collins, publisher of the new publication as well as PennWell's Solid State Technology. “We're very excited. We've had overwhelmingly positive response to the launch of this magazine.” PennWell has cautiously tested the market for the magazine over the past two years. The publication's roots are in an e-newsletter associated with Solid State Technology. The newsletter, “PV Times,” is now sent to 76,000 recipients. In launching Photovoltaics World, PennWell will benefit from serving related markets. “Many of the latest advances have come from applying know-how originally developed for semiconductor manufacturing, and we expect to see more of the same,” said Peter Singer, editor in chief of Solid State Technology. Additionally, Photovoltaics World plans to publicize its launch at a PennWell trade show, Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo, in March in Las Vegas. And in 2010, the magazine will debut two Photovoltaics World Exhibitions that will take place in conjunction with Renewable Energy World trade shows. In deciding to take on the risk to launch a print product amid the current economic uncertainty, PennWell had the advantage of relative financial health. “We're lucky to be with a company that has a strong balance sheet and can afford to take on something like this,” Collins said. —Sean Callahan
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