Bogart Communications

Home | About Us | Services | Who We Are | Clients | Clients Say | News | What Is News? | This 'n That: Blog | Contact

This 'n That: Jeff's Blog

Archive Newer | Older

Friday, October 16, 2009

Beyond Business Week: Thinking About Follow-on Mergers

Will Bloomberg’s purchase of BusinessWeek stimulate more business media mergers?

One reason Bloomberg, with its news service and financial terminals, bought the business weekly is to reach business executives instead of investors.  Investors and business executives, Bloomberg Chief Content Officer Norm Pearlstine seems willing to acknowledge, have different news, information and analytical needs.  

PaidContent quotes Pearlstine as saying:  “How it expands our reach is pretty obvious. BusinessWeek has a paid circ of 936,000, it reaches, according to the MRI numbers, 4.8 million readers around the world in its English language edition ... Bloomberg primarily accesses an audience of 300,000 extremely influential subscribers to the Bloomberg terminal but we have always had both a desire and a need to be read in the corporate suite, in areas of government where people are not subscribing to the terminal and that access is important to us in terms of our ability to break news, to provide better coverage for the subscribers of the terminal and BusinessWeek delivers on all of that.” 

In view of Bloomberg's new heft, will the News Corp.’s Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal remain content just to publish Smart Money and Barron’s, or will Rupert Murdoch now also feel the need to reach a more corporate business audience by purchasing Time Warner’s Fortune magazine?  Will Forbes see its future as remaining a niche investment publication, or will it seek also to acquire a business presence, perhaps by hooking up with one of the magazines published by management consultants, such as Booz & Company?

There’s no reason to think that any of these marriages are in the offing or that, if consummated, they would be successful.  But the need for a larger advertising base and editorial efficiencies, coupled with an interest in bringing business intelligence to still more readers might produce these or other hookups. 

In any case, note that Pearlstine says (above) that Bloomberg not only covets corporate readers but also government readers.  Too bad for him that Pearson PLC affiliate The Economist Group has already purchased Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call.  But there are other Washington-based properties that Bloomberg perhaps might like to consider.   Could the purchase of National Journal or The Washington Post be next?

-- Jeff Bogart

12:38 pm edt          Comments

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

McGraw Hill and BW: Down Memory Lane

First-day news stories about McGraw Hill’s sale of Business Week magazine to Bloomberg focus on the sale and expected changes in the magazine.  So far, I haven’t seen any comment about the deal as a statement by McGraw Hill about how quickly the U.S. economy will emerge from the current recession and about the future of print advertising.  McGraw Hill seems to be saying the economic recovery will be weak and that print advertising will remain chronically ill. 

I also haven’t seen much if any focus on McGraw Hill and the remainder of its publications empire.  With the shedding of BW, can the rest of the publications be far behind?  Perhaps some second-day stories will focus on the health and wealth of McGraw Hill.

The disposition of BW, which began as System, was acquired by McGraw-Hill in 1929 and renamed The Business Week, leads me down memory lane.  I can remember my father, a merchandise manager for Lansburgh’s department store in Washington D.C., reading it in the 1950s.  I recall that in the 1970s, Ted Merrill, the computer editor at the magazine, suggested that the Computer Industry Association (CIA) obtain and distribute IBM’s internal documents that had become available in U.S. v IBM and Telex v IBM.  The suggestion stimulated the launch of a document retrieval  service that I managed for CIA.  It also resulted in a cover BW story by Merrill about IBM’s executive committee minutes, which CIA had begun selling.  

In the late 1970s I spent Thursdays at BW drafting news releases based on galleys of the stories that would appear in the forthcoming issue.  Deciding which stories to turn into releases and analyzing their content and structure gave me insight into the BW approach to story-telling (among other things, end by focusing on the future).  The releases were sent to other media with the objective of stimulating stories that would credit BW and boost newsstand sales.  I recall that one release—about a BW story on convicted Italian financier Michele Sindona –was picked up by The New York Times. 

The sale of BW also leads me to recall some of the weekly and monthly vertical market trade magazines that McGraw Hill used to own, many of them leaders in their fields.  Among them were Modern Plastics and Medical World News; Electrical World and Power; Chemical Week and Chemical Engineering; National Petroleum News, covering petroleum retailing; Electronics, and more. As advertising dried up and as McGraw Hill moved to focus on electronic publishing and newsletters, some were closed; others, sold.    

But back to BW:  There’s probably a good history, based on interviews with old-timers, to be written about the publishing and editing of BW during its McGraw Hill days, if it hasn’t already been.  Like the prototypical BW story, it would end by focusing on the future.

-- Jeff Bogart


3:43 pm edt          Comments

Archive Newer | Older


Share This Blog/Connect


 © 2009-22 by Bogart Communications.  All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to reproduce this page and material on it provided proper credit is given.

Bogart Communications * 19460 Cromwell Court, #106, Fort Myers, FL 33912 * Phone: 917-608-3477 * E-mail: