Tag Archives: media

United Business Media, Informa and Reed Elsevier results – the health of big B2B media?

I know. I’m a bit odd. But I love ‘results season’.

Watching the results come through from the big media firms you get a unique perspective on how the industry is shaping up. They give you a pretty forensic view of markets, strategy and platforms. An overview you never usually get unless you’re employed directly in those firms.

In previous years I have covered the results of UBM, Informa and Reed Elsevier individually on this blog. This year I’ve been a bit busy building our new business – The Media Briefing – so it wasn’t until today that I got a chance to catch up and watch the board presentations to analysts.

Each year I try not to read analysts reports or look at share-price movements. I don’t claim to be a financial analyst. Instead I am far more interested in:

  1. How the strategy is presented
  2. What levels of confidence are the management team giving off
  3. Which parts of the business show opportunity or weakness
  4. Are there any wider industry trends being highlighted

After watching the webcasts this is my feeling about the health of the big three.

Reed were the first of the companies to release their results. You can view the full report and view the webcast here.

Reed have been through the wringer in recent years. Chief executives have come and gone. Reed Business Information has been up for sale and then not. The company has spent big to buy a ‘non-traditional’ media company – Choicepoint. There have been continual questions about Reed Exhibitions…

All of this has meant that the analyst presentations have been made very much on the back foot.

This year Erik Engstrom was able to put on a more confident show. You could almost see his relief.

Broadly the company’s results were fairly static year on year with a small growth in revenue and a small decline in profits. On the surface, stable.

But under the surface there are clearly some big issues. The main one seemed to be the weakness of the Lexis Nexis part of the business and the high level of investment required. The legal markets are obviously still struggling, the Westlaw platform seems to be taking market share and their profits were down 12%.

It was interesting that the Choicepoint part of the business had managed to grow margins from 24% at the time of aquisition to a staggering 38% now. At the same time Lexis Nexis margins were just 14%.

So, what I took away from the Reed presentation was a perception of a company still very much in transition. Choicepoint and the re-bound of the exhibition business were collectively masking some deep underlying problems in Lexis Nexis and the continual re-positioning of Reed Business Information.

Informa’s results felt more predictable. They are still benefitting from cost control measures implemented across the business – especially in the events field where it is easier for a conference and training company to quickly cut marginal events and overheads.

Overall Informa had flat revenues but a decent growth in profits. Peter Rigby and his management team projected confidence and an uncomplicated outlook for the business. Clearly there are still challenges – for renewals in academic markets and Datamonitor sales – but this is a company firmly looking forwards.

They will continue to focus on large events, geo-clone successful formats to new territories and move subscription products up the value chain.

A theme that came from the presentation was that Informa were concentrating on premium intelligence and increasingly looking at enterprise sales of subscription content. I hear this more and more from business media companies as they search for the ‘holy grail’ of data and ‘workflow’ based products. The move from providing information to intelligence

All in all I felt that Informa were the strongest and most confident of the 3 companies.  They announced unequivocally that they “would have a good 2011” and that “interesting acquisition opportunities were opening up”. Their debt was under control and Adam Walker joked that for the first time in a long while the phrase “under-leveraged” had been used to describe them in an investor meeting.

We recently interviewed Peter Rigby on TheMediaBriefing and asked him what worried him most. His answer was geo-political risk and so I suppose that whilst the company seems strong he is keeping a close eye on events in the Middle East.

The UBM results yesterday (1 March) were the most intriguing. Last year I wrote about a company that was weathering the global storm pretty successfully. I suggested that they were transforming themselves steadily – and via a long stream of acquisitions – into an emerging markets exhibition company.

It’s pretty easy to understand the strategy here. Whatever is happening in individual business verticals it appears clear that the strength of growth over the next 10 years is going to come from the emerging economies of, in particular, the Asia Pacific and Indian sub-continent. Exhibitions are a market that really benefits from scale and by acting as a consolidator I thought UBM was putting itself in a good position.

A strategy of acquiring assets in these regions – as well as the Americas – seems sensible and David Levin has always impressed me as a no-nonsense leader of the business.


… looking at their analysts presentation today gave me some cause for concern. In spite of the company’s “fastest rate of revenue growth in a decade” their profits were flat. This was put down to an increasing investment in new products, sales and IT systems but I suspect it is much more than that.

There was an emphasis on ‘targeting, distribution and monitoring’  (PR Newswire) side of the business that I hadn’t seen before. I cannot see how the margins for this type of service are not going to be adversely affected by the easier distribution of information online and social media. In previous presentations I got the feeling that this service was not seen as core to UBM’s future.

Likewise the focus on virtual events and development of better marketing services with print and online platforms combining to generate leads for sponsors was different. I suspect that the old CMP business is really struggling.

There was also the announcement of the sale of The Publican (and some related brands) at what sounded a virtual fire sale price compared to the valuations it enjoyed relatively recently.

I suspect what has been happening at UBM is that everyone has been extremely busy running around acquiring and integrating businesses. I know from bitter experience what a time-consuming task this can be – especially in overseas markets – and it must have been a significant management distraction. One which wasn’t helped by the global downturn and writedown of the print portfolio.

UBM’s analyst presentation was by far the most confused of the three. It felt over-long and complicated. Sometimes less is more and the clear strategy that they had shown last year seemed to have been muddied.

David Levin also gave an exclusive interview to TheMediaBriefing in October last year in which he highlighted the fact that there would be inevitable ups and downs for the company. I can’t help but feel that UBM could do with a period of stability to really concentrate upon building a world-class emerging markets events business.

I admire the company and am a long-term shareholder but David’s assertion that the re-focus of the company was done had a bit of a hollow ring to it.



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Media owners – learn the lessons from other disrupted industries

Creative Disruption book coverOne of the things that I find most irritating about media industry ‘punditry’ is the fact that a lot of the commentators tend to exist in their own little bubble.

There are endless articles written about paywall strategies; CPM rates for online advertising; must-have vs. need-to-have content and whether our current problems will resolve themselves as the economy turns. These are all well and good but only get us part of the way.

To cut to the chase, can we all please agree that we are still only in the early stages of radical disruption of all media businesses?

A radical disruption that has been brought about mainly by the internet & its ability to change media consumption habits and reduce the power of old media models.  

If we all agree and start from this point then maybe we can look outside our media world and look at some of the lessons from other industries that have experienced the same disruption in the past.

How did companies in tech, music, transport or telecoms industries cope? Which companies survived and prospered? Which ones withered and died; and what can we learn as a result?

With all this in mind I was particularly interested to hear a keynote from Simon Waldman at Incisive Media’s E-Publishing Innovation Forum recently. Simon has recently left a senior digital position at The Guardian newspaper and joined LoveFilm.

His presentation “Creative Disruption – or OMG! The Internet ate my business” was based on an upcoming book of the same name. I wanted to list a few of the highlights for me and suggest that you pre-order his book (due out in October this year).

Simon started his talk by highlighting that a process of creative disruption is an essential fact of capitalism. He quoted Joseph Schumpeter from 1939 explaining that a railroad through new country “upsets all conditions of location, all cost calculations, all production functions within its radius of influence; and hardly any ‘ways of doing things’ which have been optimal before remain so afterwards.” 

He then asked the audience to replace the words railroad with the internet.

Imagine that a railroad has just been built through our industry. That railroad has opened up the market to a load of previously unknown competitors from other territories – many of whom we have never heard of. It has changed the cost base of doing business. It has reduced the price point that we can charge for what was previously scarce content. It has allowed our commercial customers to do more of their own marketing and provided access to new tools for publishing and distribution.

That’s disruption on a grand scale and Simon highlighted 4 possible hazardous reactions to these changes.

It’s possible you might recognise some:

  • Denial – the numbers are getting fewer but I still hear some senior publishers who refuse to accept that this process is taking place. They talk about a cycle that they have seen before.
  • Bewilderment – aka the Private Frazer school – we’re all doomed and there is nothing we can do.
  • Delusion – OK. So I accept that this is happening to some parts of my industry (maybe controlled circulation titles?) but those trends don’t apply to my niche, premium content subscription business. We’ll be fine. We’re too good to fail.
  • Distraction – Yup. I get what’s happening, and we’ll get on to it, but first I’ve got a couple of important conferences to promote, we’re redesigning a website and then have to do a budget re-forecast.

All of these reactions will get you to only once place – a spiral of pain.

So, what lessons did Simon learn from other industries that have been through these disruptive phases? What should media owners be doing about it?

  1. Start with change in mind. Right from the top. He highlighted the Fast Forward change programme that Tom Glocer introduced on taking over at Reuters to make very clear where the company was coming from and going to.
  2. Fix the core first. Don’t spend time searching for something that is too radical. Lou Gerstner, the IBM Chairman said that “the last thing IBM needs now is a new vision“. His (ultimately company saving) approach in 1994 was to get the company’s core business right by adjusting their product mix, working on the cost base and getting the business profitable. That allowed him to generate cash and buy time to move away from the mainframe and into the services business. Smart things come from stable cores. They are very hard to do when you are fire-fighting.
  3. Look for key adjacencies. Where are the opportunities at the edges of your markets to expand? What do you do better than your competitors and how can you move those skills into new areas? This is something that media owners have generally been good at with brand extensions, taking advantage of new platforms, geo-cloning products to other territories etc.
  4. Innovate around the edge. You might need to do this away from the main business (anyone up for another Euston Project?) but these activities should be focused experiments to test and feed back into the core business. It was interesting that upon becoming acting CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs cut their research and development budget in half but gave a much clearer focus to the spend. They could only develop the iMac/Pod/Phone/Pad after they had reduced headcount by 1/3, sorted out their supply chain and made their desktops profitable.
  5. Build your teams to enable change – this required a combination of Firestarters, Rockstars and Fixers (combined with great leadership at the helm).

All in all I thought it was a great presentation and provides a good roadmap for anyone wrestling with the changes in the media market.

I look forward to reading the book when it is out in October and cannot help but see a little irony in the fact that Simon has chosen to leave the media industry prior to it being published…

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Is the PPA now the Print Publishers Association?

Congratulations to Barry McIlheney on his appointment as Chief Executive of the PPA – the association for the “UK’s magazine and business media industry”. I have written before about the really important role that media trade associations have during the current transition from an analogue to a digital networked world.

Barry has a background in consumer magazines and is clearly a very experienced and respected media professional. However, some of the comments made in this Media Week article following his appointment worry me greatly.

“I think this is an excellent appointment. His knowledge of print is second to none and he has a terrific enthusiasm for print.” Evelyn Webster, Chief Executive, IPC

“Barry is an out-and-out print man. He has print running through his veins. I can’t imagine a better ambassador.” Mike Soutar, Chief Executive, ShortList Media

Uh oh? Looks like a concerted campaign here to get back to a ‘periodical publishing’ yesteryear.

While print magazines are still hugely important in the overall mix would you really want to be part of an association with that as its sole focus?

The root cause of the PPA’s problems was an inability to adapt to a changing media landscape. The PPA had a position as the association for the business of media. This position was lost through its dogged concentration on one channel as their member firms’ businesses diversified.

I sincerely hope that the board of the PPA haven’t compounded this mistake.

Until we have heard from Barry directly I’ll hold judgement on his appointment (it’s interesting that the news hasn’t even made the PPA website).

The signs don’t look too promising to me I’m afraid.

Postcript 22/01 – in the comments below Andy Cook from the PPA points out that the news was posted on the PPA’s website – under the press release section. Apologies Andy, I missed it.

Postcript 2 25/01 – Barry has (indirectly) responded to this post in the comments below.

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What’s the point of trade associations?

imagesDuring the course of my career in media I have been involved in the work of a variety of trade associations – as an attendee at events, speaker, committee and board member.

Generally my experiences have been positive ones and I have learned a lot and made some great connections as a result of my participation. However, I am constantly amazed at how old fashioned a lot of them are and also, how resistant they are to change.

This week I saw the news about the Chief Executive of the PPA leaving the trade body with immediate effect. I have heard of similar travails at ABM in the US. The large media trade associations are clearly struggling so it got me thinking about what their role should be and how they can grow in the future.

imagesHere are some of the key pillars that I believe media trade associations should be built around:

Championing the industry – the media industry is a huge sector, employing hundreds of thousands of people and contributing greatly to the wider economy. However, because it is so diverse it is often misunderstood and disjointed. A dominant trade association should define the scope of the industry, quantify and publicise its importance.

Lobbying – directly linked to ‘championing’ is the role of a trade association to lobby governments, commercial suppliers and regulatory bodies on behalf of its members. An industry that has no strong central voice is weaker and vulnerable to ill thought out pieces of legislation.

imagesBeing both welcoming and adaptable – I have dealt with some trade associations that feel as though they only cater for a section of the industry. Either through its membership dues structure, key activities, or the make up of the board they can sometimes feel only relevant to a narrow group of companies, or organisations of a certain size. This is a recipe for extinction. You must welcome the startups, the new business models, the multi-platform nature of the businesses you serve and not stick to the entrenched way of doing things.

Educating – at the heart of a successful association should be a learning programme. Setting best practice standards; training new entrants; providing formal qualifications; organising seminars and conferences; recognising excellence through awards etc.

imagesLeading – during a period of rapid structural change I look to a media association to be open and honest about what is happening. I’d like it to be able to act bravely, to be able to highlight the commercial challenges faced and not put out misleading statistics (sorry Tim) to paper over the cracks. I’d also like it to be at the forefront of experimenting with new technology – social networks, online video, personalisation etc.

Conversational – a large part of the value I have received from participation in trade associations has been nothing to do with committees or formal events. Instead it has come from talking to other people who work in the same industry that I do. Some of these are competitors but often they are not. The abiding principle should be that by being open you get more back than you give. An association that encourages conversation and sharing ahead of corporate posturing will always do well.

imagesCharitable – all industries go through periods of upturn and downturn. During the boom times associations should build up reserves and they should not be scared about drawing down these assets in harder times to support bursaries, fellowships and grants. At the recent SIPA conference in Washington regular attendees who were out of work or whose companies were in financial difficulty could apply for their registration fees to be waived. If they were successful there was an implicit understanding that they would support the association in other ways in the future. This has to be a win/win.

Career enhancing – throughout my career I can point to two jobs I have directly got as a result of contacts made through industry associations. At various stages I have heard about members having problems with poaching of staff as a result of contacts made at associations but let’s face it, there are now so many ways to contact employees at competitors. If they’re open to being wooed there’s very little you can do about it. An efficient recruitment site and introduction service should be at the heart of a trade association’s services.

imagesNon – bureaucratic – I was recently involved in a process to review the articles of association for a media trade body. It was enough to make your eyes bleed. I have also sat in committee meetings where there were so many proposers, seconders, yays and nays that I felt I should be wearing a frocked coat and wig. While I understand the need for rules – especially where member dues are involved – surely we can cut out a lot of this bull? Associations should be run like a modern business, with a flat hierarchy and a commitment not to waste your members time or money.

Open & visible – basic marketing here but I bet many of the readers of this blog have never heard of some of the associations I’ve linked to here (logos are clickable). Even if you have heard of them do you really understand the difference between them and the constituent communities they serve? Trade bodies need to make sure they do a much better job of marketing to both members and non-members.

One of the major problems I see is that trade associations are often run like sub-standard media companies. We accept a lot of the quirks because they regularly rely on volunteers or part-time staff. But for people working in the media and communications industry that’s not good enough. Trade associations have a huge role to play in the evolution and development of our industry. Their strength benefits us all.

Comments welcome.


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So, should we all give up and go home?

3525090847_2f001a60feIt is now a little over 8 months since I left Incisive Media. At some point in the future I will do a ‘reflections on a post-corporate world’ post, but for the time being I wanted to share some thoughts on what has happened to the media industry this year. I’d also like to discuss where we might be going & highlight some bright spots.

Looking back, I am still amazed that there was any debate about whether this media downturn was cyclical or structural. Patently it was both but companies that didn’t accept this early are undoubtedly the ones who are now panicking the most.

Having said that there are no easy answers here. No-one really knows how the business models are changing online. Even those organisations who waded straight in to structural change have struggled. I remember one commentator describing the process as being like ‘changing the tyres on a moving truck’ – a pretty apposite analogy.

Over the course of the last few months I have been in a lucky position to step back from the coal-face and observe. My work as a board member of SIPA and my tours round medialand in both the UK & US have allowed an interesting perspective. I have seen both the struggles and success stories first hand and, probably because I am not currently affiliated to any company, I think that I have had more open and honest discussions with media business leaders.

The tone of most of those conversations has been one of steely determination to get through it combined with underlying fear that they’re not sure how.

Whichever way you dress things up we’re going into unknown territory. The shift from an analogue to a digital world of content, collaboration and communication is gathering pace. The skill-sets required by media employees are ever changing and the power that many once formidable media brands had is on the wane.

So, should we sell up, give up, go and do something else?

Some would already seem to have chosen that option. Private equity players are suddenly less keen on the sector. Business Week was confirmed to be ‘on the block’ this week. There has even been talk about a sale price of $1 in spite of having nearly one million paid readers!

Reed Elsevier have made no secret about wanting to sell RBI and have now started selling bits off piecemeal & I am speaking to a lot of the media brokerage businesses about publishing assets that are in the pipeline. But, at the same time…

… I am still hearing very positive stories from a lot of publishers whose businesses, while affected by recession, are structurally sound and doing very nicely.

These are the businesses that, on my travels, everyone wants to pick my brains about and so I thought I would point to a few and try to categorise what has made them more robust:

  • Privately held niche business intelligence providershere I am talking about companies like Business Monitor and Euromonitor. These companies have always worked at the premium information end of the market, often on a subscription basis with renewable revenue streams. They generally are not affected by downturns in advertising spend or event travel. I admire greatly the operations of both of these companies and the entrepreneurs behind them. Their transition from print to online and electronic site licence deals have been transformational & was probably the reason that Informa shelled out such a huge amount of money for Datamonitor a couple of years ago.
  • Online-only membership sites – there are a few that spring to mind but the best ones I can highlight are eConsultancy & SEOMoz. Both of these sites operate in the digital marketing and tech space and practice what they preach, with a full understanding of what it takes to build a successful information business online. The concept of membership rather than subscription is one that I really like because it successfully builds in a lot of the community elements of niche publishing. Combined with this they are increasingly offering bespoke tools to help their members do their jobs better. The Racing Post has also launched a membership offering this week that I think is well crafted.
  • Magazines that really work their brand – here I would highlight Monocle magazine. A consumer lifestyle magazine that seems to be full of advertising, sponsored reports and has even started opening shops with branded merchandise. There was a recent write up from a fan of the magazine here. From my previous corporate life I would also point to Risk & MEED magazines as examples of business publications that has cleverly built a massive complementary business around their mother brand.
  • Data and work-flow publishers – I have written before about some of these developments in publishing but they are usually at the top end of publishing & put together by the behemoths of the media world.

These are just a few examples of media brands which are well positioned in the current economy. There are plenty of other niche and smaller players I have come across that are also growing nicely. It is undoubtedly a challenge but not all doom and gloom.

So, coming back to my original question, should those who currently work in the media all give up and go home?

Some probably should. If you work in an old school media business, and haven’t got the energy to reinvent yourself and your products on an almost continual basis, the next few years aren’t going to be much fun. You should probably look to go off and do something else instead.

If, however, you can learn some lessons from the examples I have listed above then the publishing and media world remains a great place in which to work & an environment which is full of opportunity. I’m looking forward to leaving home and getting back into the fray.

(Photo credit – Columbusneon)


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If a B2B marketer had launched Wired UK – part 2

OK. Apologies for the delayed sequel – school holidays, planning for a new business, Twittering instead of blogging, blah blah blah…

In my last post I looked at the launch of Wired UK. I said that it was a brave company that would launch a glossy consumer magazine in this climate and that I was generally impressed with the first issue. However, I did feel that the launch team had missed a few tricks.

If Wired UK is to survive better than it did last time then I believe the main thing the team should be concentrating on is building loyal subscribers, capitalising on the buzz of the launch & developing a variety of diverse revenue streams – key B2B disciplines that are sometimes missing in consumer publishing.

All the publicity I have seen since the first issue has been about successful newsstand sales and good initial support from advertisers. Outwardly it seems as though these are the main metrics Condé Nast are monitoring.

Fantastic; but one successful issue doesn’t make a successful business. This is especially true for a bi-monthly* where advertisers and agencies have a long time to forget about you between issues.

As any decent media marketer will tell you, subscriptions rule. Good subscription titles can enjoy 70%+ renewal rates and subscribers pay you the money up front. Subscriptions make a viable long term business and give a great message about circulation and loyalty to advertisers. Without them your business can disappear in a flash.

A quick look at the successful US edition of Wired circulation statements shows that it has nearly 90% of readers on subscription – some 614,000 of them.

The UK market is obviously a lot smaller but it shouldn’t be unrealistic to set a target of 50,000 paid subs by the end of the first 12 months & this would be my prime goal if I was running the launch marketing team. The Independent, in an analysis following the demise of the first attempt at a Wired UK estimated that it would need to sell 80,000 copies an issue to break even. 50,000 subscribers would leave a lot less pressure on the marketing budget for the promotion of newsstand sales.

So, I left my previous post explaining how the pre-launch activity should be concentrating on subscriptions (with a charter offer), data acquisition (via the web site) and social media marketing. I suggested that I would aim to have 12,000 subscribers, 60,000 registered web users and active communities on all the major social media sites 2 weeks before the first edition even hit the newsstands.

What then?

Well, I would also want to make sure that I had more than just a magazine to sell to my prospects. One of the things that’s at the core of successful B2B media is that a thriving media brand should only be the start of your business. The real money often comes from the sales of related products – conferences, training, exhibitions, books, special reports, affiliate deals etc. and the best time to sell them is when interest in your brand is at its highest – when you’re new. So let’s make the most of all these new registered prospects, social media visitors and web site readers & make sure that we have something else to sell.

Let’s also try to covert some of these people who have expressed an interest in Wired into subscribers – not just by inserting flyers in the magazine and directing people through to a subscription bureau but with direct sales contact via e-mail and the phone. As a result of the work we have done pre-launch we can have one to one conversations with a lot of our potential customers. I’d put an offer together – always with a time limit & countdown to encourage urgency – and contact all of my registered readers, fans and followers with a invitation to subscribe.

As well as contacting people on my own databases I would actively be monitoring a range of online channels to see what people were saying about the magazine. I would be seeding influential online personalities with free sample issues and tracking the conversations that are taking place online. By using the advanced function on tools like Twitter search you can get some fairly detailed prospects to call. It would be a shame to leave these people to never get round to subscribing (I haven’t yet, and I’m not hard to find…).


*I’ve always been confused about whether that is the right way of describing a publication that comes out once every 2 months.

Update: An interesting interview with Wired’s editor in the ‘back from the dead’ Press Gazette today – £2m first year promotional spend? Crikey.

Postcript (07/05/09) – Just seen issue 2 (June 09) & it’s also good. Also looks like I made a mistake about it being bi-monthly – don’t know where I got that from.


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The shift from online to print (no typo)

About 5 years ago I was invited to attend a small roundtable organised by PIRA – a research consultancy. They had been asked by one of their clients (a printer, I think) to gather together a few people from the magazine publishing industry to debate the future of print & give them a steer on where the industry might be headed.

It was an interesting crowd of around a dozen people including Tim Brooks, then of IPC and now the MD of Guardian News Media;  Simon Middelboe, current CEO of Emap Inform; Ian Bissel, then of Emap and now at Reed Exhibitions and Victoria Scott from the Readers Digest.  

The roundtable was supposed to last most of the day but by lunchtime I think there was a general agreement that, in a magazine industry context, print had no real future. We called a halt.

Now I’m not sure how PIRA’s sponsor took this news but I remember an outcry at the PPA (the UK’s trade association for large media companies) when the news filtered back to their various committees. Ian Locks, the Chairman, wrote an indignant leader for Magazine News extolling the virtues of print and the PPA began a research programme to prove the case for print based advertising.

Looking back from January 2009 I was recently revisiting that day.

I have no doubt that most of the participants will view the past 5 years as a validation of our conclusions. A lot of print titles have gone to the wall, valuations for all media businesses are being savaged and magazines are struggling to compete with their online competitors. I am sure that at every ‘old media’ publishing house in the land executives are trying to calculate a tipping point where some aspect of their print publishing no longer makes economic sense & activities should be transitioned to the web – with all of the resulting challenges that this brings.

In fact Steve Rubel even went so far as to profer a date for the end of tangible media in the US; January 2014 – mark it in your Blackberry or iPhone calendar (assuming you no longer use a desk diary).

I too look back over the past 5 years as evidence that print doesn’t work for a lot of the future media models. However, I have seen a couple of examples recently that suggest it still does have a place – especially when it takes advantage of advances in print technology and tailored content.

Citywire is a financial publishing company founded by Lawrence Lever, formerly Financial Editor of the Mail on Sunday. It was launched online in 1999 and covers the fund management, personal finance and financial adviser sectors. The site has grown rapidly, carries a lot of proprietary data and employs many journalists who have passed professional exams and are registered as investment advisers but the FSA. It is 25% owned by Reuters. 

As a ‘web first’ media company Citywire is well placed to avoid the legacy print activities which currently cause so much heartache to old media. And yet, over the years they have chosen to launch magazines alongside their websites. The difference with magazines like New Model Adviser is that they use the huge amount of detail gained from web registration forms to offer personalised content and advertising to their readers. I would imagine that the advertisers see a lot of value in being able to demonstrate individual fund performance to their target audience based on readers preferences, and will pay premium rates to be able to do so.

The same principle of personalised content is being explored by Idiomag – albeit in a digital edition only but it could work in print. Idiomag is a bespoke music magazine that can be individually tailored by users who can import their profiles from services like Last.fm. It  provides an interesting model for publishers who are exploring the ‘pool of content’ approach to publishing where journalists no longer write for a specific title but rather feed all stories into a central CMS with detailed tagging and a taxonomy. Readers then nominate the content which is relevant to them. This can then linked to e-commerce applications for downloads, gig tickets etc.

I am sure there are many other examples of online media ‘reversing’ into print and would welcome links to any good ones in the comments section below.


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