‘Red Herring’ banks on its experience

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Since Julian Lowin was named publisher of Red Herring in June, the ranks of new economy titles have thinned considerably.

Business 2.0 was bought by Time Inc. and merged with eCompany Now. A few weeks later, The Industry Standard ceased publication and its owner filed for bankruptcy protection.

Lowin insists Red Herring, with circulation of 325,000, is not for sale, despite rumors to the contrary. In early September, Red Herring Communications announced that it was reducing the magazine’s frequency from biweekly to monthly.

The San Francisco-based publication continues to struggle against one of the worst ad markets in memory. Through July, ad pages were down 53% compared with the same period last year, while ad revenue was off 19%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Lowin said he expects Red Herring’s ad pages to be down significantly for the year but noted a slight uptick in ad pages in October and November compared with the summer months.

"There’s a dark shadow over the new economy books," said Lowin, former publisher of Fast Company. "But my point [with advertisers] is Red Herring is going on its ninth year, and all the books that have closed or merged weren’t around before April 1998. … The smarter ones get it."

To spread its message, Red Herring is rolling out an ad campaign this fall in media trade magazines. Lowin wants to cultivate the automotive and luxury markets to augment its finance and tech mainstays, such as Microsoft and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

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