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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Folio: Building Fourth Quarter Business 

Squeezing More Sales Out of the Fourth Quarter


Yours truly blathers in the new issue of Folio: (see link above) about using potential short rates and rebates as a tool for enhancing fourth quarter business. I'm unsure how many b2b publishers still stick to rate card, much less require signed contracts for frequency discounts (we do, though it's increasingly tough to enforce rateholders). But I continue to believe that discussions of actual frequency versus contracted frequency are a valuable way to talk to customers about the fourth quarter and the year ahead in September and October.

See also Peter Hoyt's approach:

Tell your customer that advertising in the fourth quarter is not for this year, it’s for next year. And that idea does kind of germinate—a certain percentage of advertisers grab that and think “You’re right, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to lay the groundwork.” And so it starts taking it out of why advertise now—you’re not advertising for now, you’re advertising for later.

And Bob Davidowitz' approach:

We’ll try to present big ideas, something that is customized for the particular advertiser that is tied to a paging schedule in the magazine and therefore becomes non-cancelable.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

And VNU Business Media too? 

From the always-excellent The Deal, speculation that VNU's Business Media USA unit, which publishes 44 business magazines and 17 directories, produces 70 events and conferences and 59 trade shows, and operates 174 electronic products, will go on the block.

Grab: That VNU is likely to take a page from the G + J playbook and sell its U.S. magazine assets doesn't mean either publisher is retreating from long-standing global ambitions. Each, rather, is merely fine-tuning its participation in what [AdMedia Partners Managing Director Mark] Edmiston calls a "global carve-out" by geographic region and publishing niche.

Read the piece for some interesting analysis on this "global carveout" among magazine publishers, "one that's not only reshaping the magazine business but also, to a degree destined to be dramatic, reducing the number of its global players."

It should also be interesting to see how VNU Business Media is sold. Can the market bear another large overall deal, as this one would certainly be? Or will it make sense to parse off chunks of the company to strategic buyers? The power of VNU's brands--Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, Editor & Publisher among them--will certainly make this sale, if it comes to that, a tempting one for both PE companies and strategics.

Via IWantMedia.

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101 Communications For Sale 

According to the good folks at Folio:, 101communications is being sold by PE investor Frontenac Company, adding to the growing list of larger-than-average b2b transactions announced or contemplated this year.

I hope the sale goes well and smoothly. CEO Jeff Klein has proven himself to be smart and savvy, guiding the company back from the brink of the dot-com-tech-publishing cliff of 2001. And he's also proven himself to be one of the class acts of b2b media.

How do I define a class act? Well, there are a number of ways, but Klein qualifies under the category of being willing and able to give of his time, expertise and insight with his must-read column in Folio:. Check out his upcoming column on building an entrepreneurial culture.

Grab: I had spent many years working for Times Mirror, which at its peak generated $3.5 billion in revenues from 27 different publishing companies. I had served on too many committees, led too many task forces, and wasted too much time getting to the right decisions, so I wanted my new company—101communications—to have entrepreneurial energy and passion.

While I haven't worked for companies quite so big, that resonates with me, as I'm sure it will with many of my over-meetinged colleagues.

(For other class acts, see the media bloggers I've linked to at the right.)

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Four Views on the Future of the NY Times 

HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE THE 'NEW YORK TIMES'?

Ad Age's Jonah Bloom asks four designers how they'd rethink the New York Times. Definitely worth a read (click the link above).

Key grabs below.

Brian Collins, Executive creative director, Ogilvy:
"But it’s not my generation that will drive the need for design evolution; it will be the generation now in seventh grade that likes to read even low-resolution digital screens. These interfaces are transparent and second-nature to them."

Lucie Lacava, Award-winning newspaper architect:
"The New York Times needs more obvious story hierarchy -- increasingly readers want to know what their trusted source thinks is most important. And it could get leaner. Things like stock listings and classifieds need to go to the Internet, where they can be regularly updated."

Pelle Anderson, Newspaper designer:
"Some of the changes in newspapers I foresee within ten years: The size will have shrunk from broadsheet to tabloid, then to half-Berliner or A4; the number of pages will be very limited, and the pages packed; white space will become scarce; there will be no stock market listings in print, these will be displayed on the phone, in real-time; newspaper/phone/PDA/wireless laptop will be 100% integrated; e-mail and SMS tailored to the individual reader/subscriber will be very important; bloggers will team up with newspapers, and vice versa; borders between "professional" writers and "amateurs" will (thankfully) become increasingly blurred, and newspapers brands will become less important; short info will beat long, personal views will beat objectivity."

Seth Banks, Director of global design, GE Healthcare:
"I would eliminate paper and go to a newly developed organic liquid-crystal flexible display. One presentation page that could be plugged in and updated prior to leaving the house, and everything would be downloaded into the memory. I’d like to try to eliminate paper altogether."

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