Magazine article Information Today

Publishers Win Prizes

Magazine article Information Today

Publishers Win Prizes

Article excerpt

While on the topic of prizewinners, the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) held its annual awards ceremony on Oct. 14 in London. When AOP was launched in July 2002, it took over the awards from the interactive arm of the Periodical Publishers Association. AOP was created to present a unified voice to industry and government for addressing the issues and concerns of all sectors of online publishing. It says its primary purpose is "to drive standards and revenue across all sectors of online publishing to raise the credibility and profile of the industry."

The association's membership comes predominantly from both the online divisions of major U.K. broadcasters and newspaper and magazine publishers. It also includes strong representation from those that provide paid content for the consumer market. However, AOP offers several awards of interest to business information users too.

Reed Chemical Group, a division of Reed Business Information, won the best Online Publisher--Business award for its suite of services for the chemical industry. These resources include Chemical News and Intelligence (http://www.cnionline.com); ICIS-LOR (http://www.icislor.com), a petrochemicals pricing-information service; and OPDsearch.com, a database of purchasing information for chemicals and chemical services.

ABC Electronic, the e-media division of the Audit Bureau of Circulations that verifies Web site traffic data for advertising statistics, won best Service Provider or Supplier to Industry. Reuters picked up the Innovation award for its Reuters Raw Video service. Raw Video was introduced at the start of the Iraq war and provides unedited sound and video without voice-over or commentary.

The AOP Chairman's Award was presented to the Financial Times for its FT.com site. In announcing the award, AOP chairman Bill Murray said: "I have given the Chairman's Award this year to a company who has faced up to one of AOP's key challenges head on: that of educating consumers that good content is worth money, and so generating revenue through content sale and subscription. During the last 9 months, 50,000 users have subscribed to this service and are spending at a rate of some [$119] per year. Despite that, traffic figures and advertising revenues have continued to rise--proof, were it needed, that top-quality content, sitting beneath established brands, can and will justify consumers paying for it."

World Summit Gets Contentious

In the months since I described the theme for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in May's International Report, a Draft Declaration of Principles and Draft Plan of Action should have been made ready for endorsement by the heads of state at the Dec. 10-12 event in Geneva. While September's third Preparatory Conference made significant progress, there are still unresolved issues, including financing, Internet security, and Internet governance.

The Draft Plan of Action contains many laudable targets to provide information and communication technologies (ICT) around the world, with special attention to the needs of developing countries. But there's concern that some governments will interpret the wording of the plan as allowing them to censor or shut down sites that express views they don't. agree with. Naturally, activists for press freedom are among those most worried.

Reporters Without Borders finds it particularly troubling that the WSIS second-stage meeting in 2005 will be held in Tunisia, a country that the organization believes represses its own Internet users. …

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