Red Herring Redux

It’s ba-ack.

Red Herring, one of the biggest and boldest high-tech magazines during the industry’s heyday, returned Thursday as the flagship title of a media group that will investigate the business of technology through online content, newsletters, research and events. The new entity, found online at www.redherring.com, will deliver 90 stories each month analyzing the issues that affect the global IT industry as a whole.

The move breathes new life into RHC Media Inc., the parent company that shut down Red Herring magazine in March of this year due to sagging advertising sales. Alex Vieux, an entrepreneur considered by Time Magazine to be among the top 25 leaders shaping the European technology community, acquired the company in April, and has spent the last five months reshaping the company’s business plan, revenue structure, and editorial mission.

“Red Herring has always played an important role in the technology industry, both as a source of informed commentary and [as] a force driving capitalism in the market,” Vieux said from the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. “We re-evaluated elements of the business that hadn’t kept pace with today’s economic realities and are now building on the brand’s strong foundation [for] a broader perspective on the global technology sector.”

According to Vieux, the new magazine will offer wide international coverage, and will examine the commercial development of technology in companies of every size.

In October, Red Herring also will announce details about a research branch that will focus on growth industries in technology. As part of this division, Red Herring experts will compile profiles, surveys, benchmarks, financial data, and insider insight to develop research packages for executives in the global IT industry.

Finally, in December, Vieux said the magazine plans to host its first Red Herring conference, designed to provide a forum where industry trend-setters, venture capitalists and leading start-up[s can gather to share ideas about key technology directions.

Across the industry, experts see these plans as “gutsy,” and adventuresome. “They think they can support a Web site with advertising…that’s pretty cool,” said Josh Quittner, Editor-in-Chief of San Francisco-based competitor, Business 2.0. “I hope it works because online publishing really needs some more success stories.”

Still, Quittner said he was skeptical that focusing on international issues would pay off in the long run. “My sense is that U.S. readers are mainly interested in what’s working here,” he noted. “I think there’s more interest among international readers in our experiences with IT than the other way around.”

However the new Red Herring plots its coverage, its masthead certainly won’t lack star power. James Daly, who conceptualized Business 2.0 and served as the publication’s Editor-in-Chief until 2001, will lead the new Red Herring editorial team. Other staff members will include former Upside Editor-in-Chief Richard Brandt, senior writers and reporters from the original Red Herring team, and a number of journalists who have contributed to additional publications in a variety of genres.

Key corporate sponsors of the new venture include Network Appliance , British Telecom , Logitech , and Symantec . Advisory board members include senior executives from Microsoft , Hewlett-Packard , and Dell , to name a few.

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