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‘InternetWeek’ latest tech pub to shut down

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The technology advertising downturn has claimed another victim: CMP Media L.L.C.s InternetWeek ceased publication last week and will not produce its Jan. 21 issue, which was to have been its second of the year.

"Unfortunately, we are having to close InternetWeek based on the market," said Alix Raine, VP-communications at CMP Media, which is owned by London-based United Business Media plc.

"The editorial premise of InternetWeek is to connect buyers and sellers to the enterprise. Even though it is a critical goal, the vendor community no longer supports InternetWeek as a separate marketing tool," she said.

CMP will continue to cover Internet-related news through other publications in its Business Technology Group, including InformationWeek, Network Computing and Optimize.

InternetWeek claimed a qualified circulation of 215,000 information systems and networking readers, and corporate buyers.

Closing comes as a surprise

Alan May, managing director of MediaCom, San Francisco, which handles media buying for Oracle Corp., said he was surprised to hear the news that InternetWeek was shutting down.

"We keep a close eye on the publications that have been real players [in the technology sector]," May said. "It appeared they had a strong editorial product."

While MediaCom has bought advertising in InternetWeek for Oracle in the past, it had not placed any ads in the publication in the past year, opting instead for broader business publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, as well as technology publications such as CMPs InformationWeek, International Data Groups CIO magazine and InfoWorld Media Group Inc.s InfoWorld.

May said Oracles ad spending will continue as planned for the remainder of its fiscal year, which ends in May, and it will be "at least the same" in the next fiscal year. MediaCom is the media buying company of Grey Global Group.

Losing to the competition

Another media buyer, Ken Sacharin, exec VP-media director, The Media Edge, San Francisco, said broader technology publications such as Ziff Davis eWeek (formerly PCWeek) and InformationWeek usually beat out InternetWeek.

Still, he said, the title had been "looked at a lot" and was a key outlet for technology clients. The Media Edge, which is owned by WPP Group plc, has clients including VeriSign Inc., Trend Micro Inc. and Napster Inc.

CMP would not comment on staff layoffs and said its policy is to find internal positions for employees when magazines are shut down. Staffers were informed of the titles folding during a noon conference call on Jan. 10.

The closure is the latest in a wave of setbacks to hit the technology publishing sector as a result of the weak economy and declining ad spending.

In a press release issued Jan. 9, United Business Media reported ad pages for 2001 through November were down 25.4% at CMP Media. InternetWeeks ad pages were down 43% through November compared with last year, followed closely by InformationWeek, whose ad pages were down 42.6%. Also hard hit were CMP titles Electronic Buyers News, whose ad pages were down 29.2%, and Network Computing, which reported a 28.7% drop in ad pages through November.

The ad slump has affected the entire technology publishing sector. The Industry Standard, published by Standard Media International, closed its doors in August after failing to find a buyer. The Red Herring, which covers technology finance, in September cut its frequency from weekly to monthly. CMP closed another publication, Tele.com, in October.

"Certainly, anything with Internet in its title has taken a hit," said Jeffrey Dearth, partner at DeSilva & Phillips L.L.C., a media investment bank. "InternetWeek, as such, probably lost a little bit of its focus in terms of its intended audience, which is connecting enterprise customers and suppliers," he said.

InternetWeek underwent a redesign just last September, and seemed to be better positioned than some of its competitors, notably Penton Media Inc.s Internet World, which last fall scaled back its frequency from 22 issues a year to monthly.

In 1997, during the early boom days of the Internet, CMP changed the name of its flagship telecommunications magazine Communications Week to InternetWeek. However, it lost advertisers in the process.

According to the Business Information Network (BIN) report from American Business Media and CMR, year-to-date ad spending through September 2001 was down 18.6% compared with the previous year. Within the category "finance, business and advertising" publications, advertising spending was down 31.4% compared with the previous year.

Dearth said he expects ad spending in the technology sector to pick up by the second quarter.

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