The Digital Revolution and the CSEG Advantage!
While the Canadian resource industry struggles against transportation bottlenecks, declining commodity prices and uncertain social acceptance, the CSEG has likewise faced many headwinds. The CSEG has been challenged to modernize its thinking about how to support and promote its membership and the science of geophysics.
At times, it feels like the CSEG is embarking on its own revolution. The mission: to improve the delivery of information to members and other interested parties the world over. In the past, we produced high quality, technical articles mainly for the Canadian oil patch and were able to keep members informed and entertained via regular monthly print editions. This was largely possible due to generous funding, through advertisements from profitable service providers such as seismic acquisition and processing companies, who in return, were able to promote themselves to a wide and discriminating audience. Now, sadly, the CSEG finds itself with fewer, less profitable service providers, declining membership (800 at year end 2018), but (happily) more global readers. Advertising has dwindled partly due to the downturn but also because of the rise of the Internet that has decimated the conventional media industry. The costs of producing a regular print edition of the RECORDER are too high to justify when unsupported by advertisers. In fact, were it not for the CSEG’s wise investment decisions of the past few decades, past revenues from service companies, sponsors and members, combined with successive Boards who have faced tough financial issues head-on, the CSEG would be facing a very uncertain future!
What to do next? How can the CSEG raise the revenues it needs to support its objectives? How can it leverage its assets to rejuvenate interest in Canadian exploration and development, and do its part to boost oil companies, service companies, and raise overall geophysical employment? One big thing we have going for us is the RECORDER, which is trusted for its technically superior content and wide readership.
Companies who are looking for international clients and investors may not realize that, largely due to our learned authors and generous open-door policy, during the period of January 2017 to December 2018, the csegrecorder.com website averaged 348,480 hits annually! This easily surpasses our sister SEG’s The Leading Edge online hits. The top regions for RECORDER online readership are: USA (22.0%), Canada (15.0%), North America (38.0%), Asia (27.0%), Europe (17.0%), Africa (8.0%), Central and South America (5.0%) and Oceania (4.0%).
Our online readers come from public, private, and state-owned exploration and production companies, high-tech service companies, government, academia, and other sectors. Will advertising in the RECORDER help service companies disperse their product information worldwide and gain new clients? Will it help oil companies find new investors? We can’t guarantee success, but we think we can be a valuable outreach tool.
Insight on our more distant and silent audience: They mostly find our content via Google searches. Most are non-members and as such, don’t have access to the RECORDER’S most recent articles, due to a current 4 ½ month delay in new content going public. Potential advertisers want to know how all website readers find their information. Are they using a search engine or going directly to our website? How many different people (IP addresses) are engaging? How long is each visitor staying on a website? Building up and understanding our website visitor statistics helps us promote the CSEG.
What are we doing to bridge the gap between new and old RECORDER styles? Currently, back issues of the RECORDER are available in PDF format on the RECORDER website. The online experience looks like a printed magazine converted to PDF files for online access. This isn’t yet the digital revolution the CSEG requires. We must move boldly into full HTML format, and articles need to be released more frequently, as opposed to duplicating a printed magazine edition (and its publication schedule) digitally. This is the new reality of online publications – keep the content fresh and give readers an opportunity to share, comment, start discussions and contact authors for follow-up.
Moving dramatically to a more complete online presence will have its detractors and growing pains, while some may feel the CSEG is transforming too slowly. Unfortunately, the future is bleak for the status quo and volunteers have good intentions but rarely the time required. Today’s CSEG mixed media presentation is expensive, unsustainable, and fails to take full advantage of the power and value of electronic media that can help propel us forward.
Gradually, the CSEG is building a story that will attract readers, authors, and advertisers alike. The result, we hope, will be better geophysics, better communication, and a stronger Canadian oil patch. Stay tuned, 2019 is likely to be another turbulent, but exciting, year for the CSEG and its audience.
Your Communications Committee:
Elizabeth Atkinson (Director)
Andy Williams (Assistant Director)
Brian Schulte (Chief Editor – RECORDER)
Jason Schweigert (Leader – Digital Media Committee)
Kristy Manchul (Advertising Advisor)
Ruth Peach (CSEG Publications Marketing-at-Large)