Will B2B Books See Boom or Bust?

Neither, according to the panelists at Thursday's State of the Industry panel. Steve Moylan, president of Reed Business Information's Boston Division, suggested a better b-word word to describe the outlook for B2B media: "boost" — slight growth resulting from a balancing of boom and bust in different industry segments. All three panelists agreed that online offerings and events will se growth, whereas print will be a challenge. So the net result will be modest growth overall for B2B media.

The panelists were Moylan, Bob Carrigan, president of International Data Group; and Gloria Adams, vice president of audience development at PennWell Corp. Folio: magazine managing editor Matt Kinsman was the moderator.

The panelists noted that cost per thousand ad impressions (CPM) they are able to charge has increased online, and some cases is even higher than CPM for the same product in print. No one felt that online CPM was where it should be, though.

None of the panelists thought paid online content would be a growth area. As Moylan pointed out, the B2B model has always been to provide free information. "I've never understood the paid-circulation model," he said. He pointed out that even when a consumer magazine like Sports Illustrated sells a subscription, the publisher has to offer so many incentives to get that subscription that it's not really making money on the "paid" sub. And consumer magazines don't even capture information on readers the way B2B pubs do, so they don't have that value to offer to the advertiser. In Carrigan's view, that ability to segment our audience by demographics and to target those segments is one of the big growth areas for B2B media.

A longer recap of the panel will appear on the Boston chapter's page on asbpe.org.
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