It was announced yesterday that Arrow Electronics has purchased Hearst publishing’s United Technical Publications, which includes 16 engineering web sites, e-newsletters, inventory access tools and databases. The deal gives Arrow a powerful electronics B2B content marketing platform to reach a claimed 1 million engineering professionals worldwide. Trade magazine Electronic Products is part of the deal.

Electronic Products magazine cover Feb 2015

Electronic Products Magazine – is Arrow’s ownership the final nail in the coffin of editorial independence

The move begs the question of where UBM’s EE Times, EDN and other media outlets might end up. It’s clear from presentations given by UBM executives to investors last year that the company has no interest in B2B publishing. The firm’s entire focus is on events and PR Newswire. What feels like weekly shedding of publishing staff is clear evidence of this strategy playing out. Will Avnet step up to the challenge, or perhaps World Peace Group, which has quietly been emerging from its Taiwan base to start grabbing market share in North America?

And what about editorial independence? What chance does Avnet have of contributing press releases technical articles, blog posts and opinion pieces to an Arrow-owned Electronic Products web site or magazine. The same issue arises for other distributors and any component or equipment manufacturer that Arrow doesn’t represent. And will the ex-Hearst outlets still carry advertisements from Digi-Key, the distributor that has almost single-handedly ensured the survival of many trade media titles in recent years?

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.