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
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
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
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
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
'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
'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
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
Publisher: Standard Media International
Launch date: June 2000
Publisher: Future Publishing
Circulation: 50,839 (ABC, Jul-Dec, 2000)
Launch date: November 1999
Publisher: Crimson Publishing
Circulation: 28,148 (BPA, Oct-Dec, 2000)
Launch date: January 1999
Publisher: Tornado Insider Media