I’ve been given a tip by a very reliable tech journalist source that a certain UK IT publishing house is showing signs it might be considering upping sticks to the US.
The reason for concern on the part of my source is that they believe this has much wider implications both for the future of UK tech journalism, and by definition, UK tech PR.
Here is a summarised version of our recent conversation and a detailed outline of the argument:
"Is one of the major UK IT publishers slowly in the process of decamping to the US? If true – and despite all the arguments about the Internet making physical location irrelevant – it makes sense. Most of the action is led from over there and there is still no alternative to being on the doorstep.
If that is the case, others will follow. And thus a much reduced case for the existence of UK tech hacks. And no reason at all for the existence of UK PR agencies. Leave it all to the loving arms of WagEd, etc. Companies who think that Europe is probably part of New England, but just could be Nova Scotia. And who most certainly don’t think it represents countries that need individual PR treatment.
In which case, there may well be no need for UK tech PR operations, or significant UK marketing budgets.
I can see this particular UK IT publisher becoming a smaller and smaller `branch office’ of a US-based HQ – which in turn means there is less reason for any PRs in the UK to talk to them, because all marketing and promotional activity will be done in the US.
So there will be less need for any UK-based tech PR.
A cynical view perhaps, but I think it is something that PRs in the UK need to think about…..ie shift the balance away from tech – for the signs are it is dead, we just can’t smell the carcass.
The UK is now seen by US companies as a satellite (in business terms) where investment in PR is (or very soon will be) no longer necessary. Let the US PR companies run it. And the evidence is they don’t actually understand that different countries outside the US have different cultures, different needs and are not all clamouring to be 51st, 52nd or 53rd State."
I’d welcome comments on this issue before I add my own ten pence worth.