|July 16, 2009|
|McGraw-Hill Will Regret BusinessWeek Dump|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|McGraw-Hill is mulling its options for BusinessWeek due to the "current market environment" and "recession in print advertising," according to a memo from BW president Keith Fox. |
In other words, M-H is throwing in the towel.
M-H views the magazine as a mere blip on the corporate radar screen. The New York-based giant has refashioned itself as a financial data and information services outfit. It neither has time nor patience to tinker with a weekly magazine stuck with a broken business model. That's why Financial Times reports that M-H may be willing to accept only a buck from somebody willing to take BW off its hands.
M-H shareholders should be outraged.
BW’s franchise is worth many millions of dollars to a buyer willing to inject some attitude into the print/online operation. FT parent, Pearson, should take a gander at BW. It could market the FT to BW’s subscriber base in a bid to expand its U.S. footprint and give Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal a run for his money. BW could be the British company’s bargain of a lifetime.
During its 1980s and '90s heyday, BW often had more advertising pages than any other magazine published in the U.S., according to the July 14 New York Times. In this decade, BW still rivaled Forbes and Fortune, selling more than 3,000 pages annually. During the first-half of '09, BW sold 590 ad pages, compared to 702 for Fortune and 911 for Forbes.
BW still has a pulse in a lousy economy that is bound to rebound.
To survive, the magazine can’t sit still. In this digital age, business news has become as much of a commodity as general news. Time and Newsweek saw the handwriting on the wall. Each revamped with more opinion and features. Time and Newsweek readers — unless they were in a cave for a week — already know the news before they crack open their mags. They are looking for understanding and points of view. BW needs to follow that path, joining Time and Newsweek in American media's quest for the Holy Grail: becoming the next Economist.
BW has credibility, earned during an 80-year history. It also has an enviable 930K-plus circulation that has a high pass-along rate. M-H is willing to throw that all away.
Its loss will be a huge gain for the owner of a revitalized BW.
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