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
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
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
’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
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
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
Publisher Conde Nast
Transatlantic readership with a substantial following, but some believe
it’s already past its prime - even for internet junkies.
Publisher Red Herring Communications
Read by the much sought-after Silicon
Valley investment community, with some international circulation.
Circulation 20,000 (controlled)
Targets companies with more than 200 employees and turnover of more than
pounds 25 million.
Circulation 16,857 Readership of executives - client marketers, as well
as agencies and consultancies, and internet/new-media companies.
Forinternet entrepreneurs in the US. Now launching in the UK , Germany
and moving from monthly to bi-weekly.
NEW MEDIA AGE
Circulation not yet audited
Small business readership of executives, mainly marketing managers, who
want to be in the internet information loop.
Publisher IDG/Pearson Circulation 130,927
Aimed at business leaders in the US, with some international
For business people charged with implementing and procuring a corporate
Publisher Fast Company
Target audience is business leaders in
the US, with some international circulation.
Not net exclusive, but hits the web spot.
Publisher Reed Business
Publishing monthly from March,
targeting IT directors from Computer Weekly’s circulation and e-business