NEW BUSINESS: A new breed of business magazines are fighting for shelf space in an evolving market. Harriet Marsh investigates

With headlines such as 'Where next? The implications of the

internet in a shrinking world' and 'A billion pounds lighter? Murdoch's

internet slip-up', there is a new genre of business magazine now

competing for shelf space in UK newsagents.



Dubbed 'new economy magazines', this sub-sector of the business press

has evolved over the past six months. At present it is dominated by two

titles - The Industry Standard, Europe and Business 2.0, both of which

are domestic versions of established US publications.



Their main rival is the Netherlands-based monthly Tornado-Insider.com,

which launched in January 1999 and now has bureaux in the UK, France,

Germany, New York and California.



In addition, the market also contains Crimson Publishing's e.BUSINESS,

launched in November 1999.



The Industry Standard, Europe is a weekly publication owned by Standard

Media International. It launched in October 2000 and claims a

circulation of around 30,000 a week.



The broad remit of these titles is to cover business in the new

technology age. But while Tornado-Insider.com's focus is the high-tech

industry, the other titles take a broader outlook.



'Our focus is not only on new economy companies but also on the way

existing businesses are dealing with questions raised by the new

economy,' The Industry Standard, Europe's editorial director, Michael

Parsons, says.



Business 2.0, which was launched by Future Publishing in June 2000, has

just recorded its first ABC of more than 50,000. Jessica Burley, its

publishing director, sums up the Business 2.0 ethos saying: 'We look at

the new economy and business in the context of the internet age. How can

the reader - a company chief executive officer or managing director -

take the technology and make their business more efficient?'



Both titles deny they are direct competitors in terms of their editorial

offering. The Industry Standard, Europe takes a more news-led editorial

approach and claims to offer a wider, European-based perspective.

Business 2.0 is a features-led publication with greater emphasis on

research and offers detailed analysis of business models.



Business 2.0's most direct competitor is probably e.BUSINESS, although

this has only managed to build a BPA-audited circulation of more than

28,000 over the last year.



They may have distinct editorial offerings, but they do attract the same

advertisers. Open the inside front cover of the February issue of

Business 2.0 and the first advertiser is Credit Suisse First Boston;

open the 8 February issue of The Industry Standard, Europe and, again,

it is Credit Suisse First Boston. Both titles also carry a similar

potential pool of advertisers - broadly technology providers, brands,

consultancies and service providers. This pitches them against

established UK business titles such as The Economist and Management

Today, as well as the established US imports Wired, Fast Company and Red

Herring (although Red Herring's recent decision to close its London

office will benefit UK-produced titles).



Despite this, it seems advertisers are finding a place for these titles

on their schedules. 'We look at these titles as something different to

the established genres,' says Angela Hounsham, head of media and

consulting at Augustone Communications, whose clients include Microsoft,

Scoot and Loot, which target these magazines. 'They cover a middle

ground between Management Today and The Economist.'



'These new titles are driving thought on the way business operates in

the new economy, whereas the older titles take more of an overview. They

recognise technology and e-business but it is merely one component of

the publication rather than the focus,' Hounsham states.



Susanna Joy, account director at the financial advertising specialist

Masius, supports the view that the new economy magazines are

establishing their own position rather than riding on the back of older

business titles.



Her client Ernst & Young specifically requested the inclusion of

Tornado-Insider.com on its media schedule when promoting a deal done

with an internet service provider. 'It seems investment banks value such

titles as a means of targeting the e-commerce connected market,' Joy

says.



That the magazine arrived on the media schedule at the request of the

client rather than at the suggestion of the agency is indicative of the

relatively low profile of these titles at present.



The explanation for this may lie in the turbulent times currently

affecting the new economy. US editions of both Business 2.0 and The

Industry Standard, Europe launched into a buoyant market in America and

reached targets well ahead of schedule. However, they were subsequently

hit by the arrival of the dotcom doldrums which also led both UK

publishers to tone down the expectations of their titles. 'The good

thing about launching after the bubble had burst was that we weren't

covered in mud like everyone else,' Parsons says. 'We went into it with

a European mind-set and a down-to-earth view of the market

opportunities. If we'd launched a year and a half ago, we might have

been more bullish in our expectation. A little reality is no bad

thing.'



His view is echoed by Burley at Business 2.0, who admits that both the

onset of stock market troubles for new-tech companies at the end of last

April, and the uncertainty generated in the US economy caused by the

drawn-out presidential election, did impact upon potential ad

revenues.



'We took a cautious view in terms of ad revenues and we've been cautious

with regard to the first quarter of 2001. But from April onwards we see

a more positive market,' Burley says. She believes that the dotcom

doldrums may actually work to the advantage of new economy titles. 'Our

raison d'etre is to review business models and talk about what works and

how to convert it into profit,' she says. 'This makes our magazine a

very useful publication right now.'



Both titles claim to be unconcerned by the downturn in ad revenue from

dotcoms. Instead, the focus is on maximising the potential of both

brands.



'Growth in physical numbers isn't our end game,' Burley says. 'Our

ambition is to continue to deliver a high quality audience.'



To observers such as Hounsham, who is following this emerging market,

this viewpoint sounds plausible: 'They can't afford to be

complacent.



But they've made a good start and if they keep the content strong and

the quality high, I see them continuing to prosper.'



THE 'NEW ECONOMY' BUSINESS TITLES



The Industry Standard, Europe



Launch date: October 2000



Frequency: Weekly



Publisher: Standard Media International



Circulation: 30,000



Business 2.0



Launch date: June 2000



Frequency: Monthly



Publisher: Future Publishing



Circulation: 50,839 (ABC, Jul-Dec, 2000)



e.BUSINESS



Launch date: November 1999



Frequency: Monthly



Publisher: Crimson Publishing



Circulation: 28,148 (BPA, Oct-Dec, 2000)



Tornado-Insider.com



Launch date: January 1999



Frequency: Monthly



Publisher: Tornado Insider Media



Circulation: n/a.



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