Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad Business

Sad news for tech journalism - the New York Times reports that the venerable Business 2.0 magazine is likely to be shut down by its owners at Time Inc ('venerable' here means that it survived the post-dotcom tech crash and more or less thrived since). The readership's been pretty stable in recent years, but ad revenue has plummeted, apparently following a particular piece of management stupidity -
Current and former Time Inc. employees point to what appears to have been an ill-advised move this year to combine the advertising sales teams of Time Inc.’s finance and business publications, which include Fortune, Money, CNNMoney.com, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0.
Consolidated under a single banner, Time Inc.’s Business and Finance Network (or Tibfin, as it is known inside the company), Time sales representatives stopped pitching the distinct appeal and audience of Business 2.0 to focus on the larger titles like Fortune.
That often turned Business 2.0 into an afterthought; big advertisers like Microsoft and Intel were offered discounts on other Time Inc. business titles if they would also buy pages in Business 2.0.

Sharing ad teams over disparate titles is a pretty common tactic (though far from ubiquitous) at smaller publishers, but I'm quite surprised to see it at this level. Still, it'll hardly be the first time that bad management decisions have scuppered a good title. My sympathies are with all the journos affected.



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