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B2B Magazine Publishers are Still in Tailspin


According to eMarketer, when the American Business Media (ABM) Annual Conference was held recently in Amelia Island, Florida, most of the speeches were optimistic.

Reviewing the financial performances of business-to-business (B2B) publishers in print, online, events and data from 2006 to 2008, Richard Mead, managing director of The Jordan, Edmiston Group, said, "This has all been part of a controlled evolution."

That's a little like saying driving a car off a cliff is all part of a controlled stop. With equal denial of recent industry performance Gary Fitzgerald, CEO of Meister Media Worldwide and chairman of the ABM, said, "It's a time of great opportunity."

Unlike the spoken words, however, eMarketer says that the data presented at the conference was more sobering. According to the ABM, B2B media ad pages declined 30 percent in the first two months of this year. And last year was not good, either.

Looking first at the B2B publisher's largest source of revenues, print, the ABM found display advertising was down 9.9 percent from 2007 to 2008, and classified advertising was down 16.9 percent over the same period, for a net ad revenue loss of 10.2 percent.

Total print revenues were off 7.7 percent to slightly over $1.2 billion.

The online revenues of B2B publications have shown steady growth. Of the six B2B media company revenue categories tracked -- magazines, custom publishing, data, online, trade shows and conferences -- online revenues showed the strongest growth, increasing 15.1 percent in 2008 to reach $360 million.

Many of the media executives at the conference were apparently focused on digital media and generating more revenues from Internet initiatives.

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