Over my years in business publishing I have always loved monitoring the reporting season for publicly quoted media companies. You gain an enormous amount of insight into the broader trends in the industry & it gives a much better perspective into the general market conditions – away from your particular coal face.
Today, one of the largest business media companies – Reed Elsevier – announced its results and Sir Crispin Davis, their outgoing CEO gave his commentary on the numbers. For anyone involved in business media it’s worth a listen.
Reed Elsevier is obviously a robust and well managed company. Their results today, and the reaction of their share price to those results, clearly show that Reed is a lot more resilient to market conditions than other business media organisations.
Why is this?
Sure, they have scale & a depth of resources but ultimately they are serving many markets that other publishers also try to serve – the legal sector, pharma, insurance etc. It’s just that they are serving these communities in a very different way.
The vast majority of Reed Elsevier’s revenues and profits do not come from a ‘buyer meets seller’ introduction service that a lot of publishers cling to. Instead they are providing valuable data and workflow solutions that help their customers do their jobs better, more efficiently, with more transparency and faster.
This is the growth sector of business media. This is the reason that Reed Elsevier have been trying to sell RBI. And this is the reason why they have announced today that they are taking £100m of costs out of the RBI business between now and 2011 in further preparation for a sale.
I wouldn’t be surprised if next time the sale comes around Reed Exhibitions aren’t added to the pot.