the international language association

Ian McMaster

Digital this, digital that: a publisher’s perspective

If you ask the established language publishers what their biggest challenge is at present, you are likely to get the answer “digital transformation”. Specifically, the challenge is how to transform traditional (paper-based) business models into ones in which a considerable proportion of revenues come from digital sources. But is such a transformation possible? Or is there an inherent contradiction between the kind of digital model that publishers would like and the wishes of their consumers? And can traditional publishers compete digitally with the new venture-capital-financed players that are disrupting the market?


This session will address such issues with examples from the experience of Spotlight Publishing, Europe’s leading publisher of language-learning magazines.

A lively discussion is expected on the topics of digital transformation and market disruption.


Ian McMaster is editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly business communication magazine Business Spotlight ( The magazine is aimed at German speakers who need English at work. In 2007, the magazine was awarded the title of Germany’s Trade Journal of the Year for the category “Law, science, tax and business”.

Ian joined Spotlight Publishing ( in Munich in 1992. He was editorin- chief of the monthly English magazine Spotlight ( from 1995 to 2003 and again from 2006 to 2009. He was the founding editor of Business Spotlight in 2001 and is a former coordinator of the worldwide business English teachers’ organisation, IATEFL-BESIG (

Ian is the co-author with Bob Dignen of the books Effective International Business Communication and Communication for International Business (both Collins) and of the ebook English for Business: 100 Tips for Effective Communication (Spotlight Publishing)


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