Now that the media industry has stabilized, b-to-b publishers are launching new magazines again. In most cases, these new titles are niche publications serving related or newly evolving markets.
Fairchild Publications has been aggressive with this approach. Supermarket News, for instance, last year launched SN Whole Health, a quarterly that covers the natural and organic foods market for supermarket executives. Dowden Health Publishing, now a unit of Lebhar-Friedman, launched Current Psychiatry in 2003. And Advanstar Communications, traditionally a b-to-b publisher, last year debuted DIRTsports, a consumer publication, to complement its Dealernews power sports dealer publication.
One of the more interesting launches is from Aviation Week & Space Technology, a McGraw-Hill Cos. publication. Next month, Aviation Week will debut Defense Technology International. The magazine will move the Aviation Week unit more squarely into coverage of broad defense, diversifying beyond aviation and aerospace technology.
Direct defense competition
In the process, the Aviation Week unit will compete more directly with defense industry publications such as Jane's Information Group's Jane's Defence Weekly and Army Times Publishing Co.'s Defense News.
Defense Technology International will have a circulation of 38,000. After its Sept. 12 debut, it will publish again on Nov. 21, then move to a six-time frequency in 2006.
Existing Aviation Week subscribers will receive the new magazine bound into Aviation Week. For new subscribers, the publication will be mailed polybagged with Aviation Week.
The majority of those slated to receive Defense Technology International are not current Aviation Week subscribers, according to Greg Hamilton, publisher-strategic media at the Aviation Week Group. Hamilton also said 35% of the subscribers will come from outside the U.S.
The Aviation Week Group said the new publication takes note of the ways the military has changed over the past decade. "Since Desert Storm and leading up to [the conflicts in] Afghanistan and Iraq, the way wars are fought and carried out is dramatically different," said Hamilton, pointing out that Desert Storm was primarily an air war but that the current Iraq war is being fought on the ground against an insurgency. In the interim, advanced technology, such as global positioning systems, which were developed for military aviation, are now being used to support ground troops.
The change is part of the way that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon are reshaping the U.S. armed forces. Called "networkcentric," this approach to warfare uses technology to link all branches of the military in an unprecedented way.
Kenneth Gazzola, exec VP-publisher of the Aviation Week Group, said Aviation Week has covered these emerging technologies in the aviation sector and is well-positioned to cover how they affect land and sea warfare as well.
Aviation Week already carries many advertisers that discuss their contributions to networkcentric warfare. A Northrup-Grumman ad in the July 11 issue, for instance, featured the headline "The art of information warfare."
In part because it covers commercial aviation, Aviation Week has seen a decline in ad pages since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pages dropped by double digits in 2002 and 2003, although they bounced back with a 12.0% gain in 2004, according to IMS: The Auditor. In the first five months of this year, Aviation Week's ad pages were up 4.6% over the same period last year.
It's not immediately clear that the Aviation Week Group is moving into a strong market with its foray into general defense. Jane's Defence Weekly lost ad pages in 2002 and 2003 but made a slight gain of 3.4% in 2004, according to IMS: The Auditor. Through May of this year, Jane's Defence Weekly's ad pages declined 19.6%.
Defense News was flat in terms of ad pages in 2002 and up 4.4% in 2003. The magazine changed the way it counted pages in 2004 to include its international edition, so there is no meaningful comparison available for that year. Its ad pages were down 24.4% in the first five months of this year.