Business To Business Publishing: Iternet In Print - An insatiable appetite for internet titles is being met with a rash of new magazines But will they last?

Technology - and specifically IT - titles have done particularly well during the past 12 months, driven by interest in the internet. According to research by Nielsen, business to business internet titles have expanded by more than 30 per cent in the past year.

Technology - and specifically IT - titles have done particularly

well during the past 12 months, driven by interest in the internet.

According to research by Nielsen, business to business internet titles

have expanded by more than 30 per cent in the past year.



In March alone, the diary is full of launches. Reed Business launches a

title for executives, e.business Review, in the first week. Haymarket is

launching Revolution in the US. Meanwhile, Future is launching its US

title, Business 2.0, in the UK. Only a few weeks ago, IDG, the USbased

publisher, announced the launch of a new internet business magazine in

the US called Darwin.



The latest report is that Nicholas Coleridge, the managing director of

Conde Nast magazines in the UK, is thinking of bringing Wired, the US

internet magazine, to Europe.



All this activity is riding on a tidal wave of enthusiasm for

information about the internet, what it is and how to optimise its

value. ’There is an explosion of interest in the internet in the UK and

Europe,’ Greg Ingham, the chief executive of Future, says. ’We want to

take the opportunity when the time is right and the market is ripe.’



In the UK, major IT publishers such as VNU, Ziff Davis and Future have

been joined by Reed, Haymarket, Centaur and smaller independent

publishers, such as Crimson, in the battle to target an expanding

audience.



Broadsheets, as well as business titles, have identified an interest

among senior management to find out about the internet. Nationals such

as The Guardian and The Telegraph have their own popular



internet pullouts, bolstered by recruitment advertising. Business titles

such as Business Week and Forbes have lucrative and successful

e-sections.



Fortune is launching a separate e-title in May - albeit only in the US

for the time being.



’We felt that the internet ranks up there with the invention of the

wheel and fire,’ Joe Levy, the founder and chief executive of Darwin and

the chief executive and president of IDG Communications, says.



Publishers in the UK appear to agree. Stuart Derrick, the editor of

e.Business, which is published by Crimson, says: ’There is definitely a

business audience which is eager to receive information on how the

internet will affect them. You only have to look at some of the

estimations for e-business growth to understand why: Goldman Sachs

estimates that business to business e-commerce alone will be worth

dollars 1.5 trillion by 2004.’



Connie Bennett, the vice-president of international sales at Business

Week, explains: ’UK companies don’t want to miss out on this bonanza,

but they need reliable information.’



Every day, large UK companies and innovative UK internet start-ups are

announcing new e-business initiatives - Tesco is trebling the size of

its home shopping service; UK high street banks see the internet as the

customer interface of the future; BA wants half of its revenue to come

from online bookings by 2003. There is no doubt that e-business is near

the top of the corporate agenda in many UK companies.



Rufus Olins, the editor of Management Today, which is launching its

quarterly ’section e’ in March, says: ’Of course, we deal with more than

just business to business internet issues at Management Today - but we

also aim to be a leader in this field. Business 2.0 told Campaign Media

Business recently that they were targeting us and The Economist when

they launch here next month.



’The UK needs strategically focused titles aimed at senior

decision-makers in large UK companies. These are fast-track managers,

ambitious for success. The people who shape UK business, and their

companies are often in the firing line from emerging dotcoms. We’ll be

aiming our title at these people.’



Given the international nature of the web, it’s probably no surprise

that there is a good deal of transatlantic traffic in internet titles.

But US titles don’t necessarily pose a threat to UK publishers.



Paul Mason, the deputy editor of Reed’s Computer Weekly, explains: ’The

UK is a different e-business market in many respects. It lags behind the

US, but the gap is closing. Business culture tends to be more

conservative and business readers are more sceptical. They don’t

necessarily accept the internet blindly and they have a lot of concerns

about how e-business will affect their business models and

strategies.



’The US titles reflect a more mature market which has been through its

own net growing pains. Some of the US titles hope to run the same copy

in the UK as they do in the US, but UK companies have their own concerns

which this won’t address. E-business comes in many flavours, and what

works in the US does not necessarily work here.’



Coleridge at Conde Nast reportedly joked that if he launches Wired in

the UK he would have to run issues a year later in the UK than in the

US.



The clear similarity between the two markets is the amount of hot air

that exists. Jane Macken, the publishing director of Revolution and

Internet Business, says: ’There is a lot of hype and nonsense talked

about new media. The success of both Internet Business and Revolution

has been in cutting through the noise and talking to the readers in a

language they understand - plain English.’



But what life is there left in reporting on new new-media

developments?



Alison Arney, the marketing director of IT Week at Ziff Davis, comments:

’Internet technology titles for business are niche. A little like the

flurry of Windows titles that launched in the late 80s, only to have

closed by the early 90s, magazines can be a little too specialist for

their own good. IT people are, by and large, generalists, and as soon as

technology becomes pervasive - which the significant technologies

rapidly do - it becomes bread and butter content for the mainstream IT

and PC press and the niche is rendered redundant.’



Derrick considers the wider picture: ’There is an argument that, in the

future, there will be no e-business, just business, as electronic

methods become seamlessly integrated into companies.



’That may well be the case. But for now, there is an almost insatiable

appetite for e-business information and editorial, and there is probably

room for a number of players in the market.’



TEN TITLES TO WATCH AND READ

WIRED

Publisher Conde Nast

Circulation 650,000

Transatlantic readership with a substantial following, but some believe

it’s already past its prime - even for internet junkies.


RED HERRING

Publisher Red Herring Communications

Circulation 82,806

Read by the much sought-after Silicon

Valley investment community, with some international circulation.


E.BUSINESS

Publisher Crimson

Circulation 20,000 (controlled)

Targets companies with more than 200 employees and turnover of more than 

pounds 25 million.


REVOLUTION

Publisher Haymarket

Circulation 16,857 Readership of executives - client marketers, as well

as agencies and consultancies, and internet/new-media companies.


BUSINESS 2.0

Publisher Future/Imagine

Circulation 210,000

Forinternet entrepreneurs in the US. Now launching in the UK , Germany

and France                                                              

and moving from monthly to bi-weekly.


NEW MEDIA AGE

Publisher Centaur

Circulation not yet audited

Small business readership of executives, mainly marketing managers, who

want to be in the internet information loop.


INDUSTRY STANDARD

Publisher IDG/Pearson Circulation 130,927

Aimed at business leaders in the US, with some international

circulation.


INTERNET BUSINESS

Publisher Haymarket

Circulation 30,000

For business people charged with implementing and procuring a corporate

internet/intranet strategy.


FAST COMPANY

Publisher Fast Company

Circulation 326,695

Target audience is business leaders in

the US, with some international circulation.

Not net exclusive, but hits the web spot.


E-BUSINESS REVIEW

Publisher Reed Business

Circulation 65,000

Publishing monthly from March,

targeting IT directors from Computer Weekly’s circulation and e-business

decision-makers.



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