As the great poet/musician Bob Dylan so eloquently wrote 45 years ago, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”
Though the rock icon was writing about the political and social upheaval of that era, the title track of his 1964 album is often referred to when any major societal changes are occurring.
At The Blood-Horse, which has been publishing since 1916, the times are also changing.
Though our mission remains the same—to serve Thoroughbred owners and breeders—the ways in which we fulfill that important goal have evolved greatly over the years.
The greatest change in modern-day journalism, the World Wide Web, enables us to reach owners, breeders, and everyone else connected to the Thoroughbred much more quickly. But it allows for a lot more than that.
Through the Internet, media organizations are able to provide their readers with considerably more information and by more user-friendly means. Space limitations known to print publishers go away. Sortability, unable to occur on a printed page, becomes possible. Archives, previously achieved through old volumes on a shelf, are immediately available by the click of a mouse.
Publications no longer measure themselves strictly by a count of subscribers. They are also keenly interested in unique daily visitors, blog traffic, number of PDF (portable document format) downloads, and the most important thing, visibility via Google and other search engines.
For more than 10 years now, those desiring the latest Thoroughbred industry news have turned to BloodHorse.com, meaning when the weekly magazine arrives, a simple rehashing of news stories, stakes results, and auction data is not good enough. But analysis, features, commentaries, and stories about a stakes winner’s family make the print product as valuable as ever.
The change does not just apply to editorial content, but to advertising as well. While printed ads are still vital in driving home a message, online provides an immediate avenue for the delivery of marketing information via ads, sponsorships, and now more than ever, through video.
Posting on the Web is not even the fastest way to deliver news. This spring, The Blood-Horse became the first Thoroughbred industry publication to begin sending “breaking news alerts” via e-mail. Because so many people receive e-mail through their phones or PDAs, headlines reach industry stakeholders regardless of where they are.
Less than two weeks after beginning the breaking news alerts, we launched mobile.bloodhorse.com, a platform allowing those able to access the Web through their phones or PDAs the ability to read stories on BloodHorse.com without being in front of a computer.
Last month, The Blood-Horse discontinued printing hip-by-hip sale results in the weekly magazine. That decision, too, is a sign of the changing times.
A visit to BloodHorse.com, and a click on Auctions, will direct readers to auctions.BloodHorse.com, where the hip-by-hip results of every major Thoroughbred auction in North America in 2008 are archived. Also available is a five-year history of each sale, a breakdown by session, and lists of leading horses, buyers, consignors, and sires.
Every newspaper and magazine in the country is printing fewer pages in 2008 than in 2007. Part of the reason, as described, is the availability of the Web, where more information can be provided. For example, in its July 26 edition, The Blood-Horse included a special report entitled “Losing the Iron Horse?” While it would be impossible to print the entire 232-page report the study was based on in the print magazine, the data is available as a free download at BloodHorse.com.
Magazines and newspapers are also being hit hard by the economy, with escalating costs for paper, fuel, and postage.
By using the Web in concert with the print product, The Blood-Horse is even better able to serve owners and breeders.
The times they are a-changin’.