'BusinessWeek Chicago' likely to be followed by other regional editions

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BusinessWeek Chicago, a monthly publication set to debut in early November, will likely be a springboard for the McGraw-Hill Co. flagship to launch additional local editions.

“There are so many people who are down on print, but our research shows there’s still a real need for it, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this,” said John Byrne, executive editor of BusinessWeek and editor in chief of He added that if BusinessWeek Chicago succeeds, “there could be a number of local BusinessWeek editions,” pointing to Boston, New York and San Francisco as possible markets.

The first issue of BusinessWeek Chicago will have a controlled circulation of 60,000. It will be distributed to a select list of BusinessWeek subscribers and key decision-makers in the Chicago area.

Written and edited by BusinessWeek’s Chicago bureau, the publication will cover business trends of interest to area executives. Initial advertisers will include SAP, Southwest Airlines and the U.S. Postal Service.

“The national market for business advertising will continue to suffer, so business publishers want to manage that decline while looking for new areas,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell Inc. “The biggest problem in b-to-b advertising is that marketers are using the Web for more lead-gen and more measured campaigns, but there still may be room for what is basically a BusinessWeek supplement.”

The global edition of BusinessWeek continues to struggle for ad dollars. Through the first half of this year ad revenue slid 7.6% and ad pages fell 12.6% compared with the first half of 2006, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. In 2006, BusinessWeek’s ad revenue dropped 6.6% while ad pages declined 0.6% compared with 2005.

BusinessWeek Chicago will be introduced without a dedicated Web site in order to focus its resources initially on the print edition. However, a dedicated Web site will be forthcoming, Byrne said. For the time being, news items that originate in BusinessWeek Chicago will also run on BusinessWeek Online.

BusinessWeek Chicago faces stiff competition. Its ad sales team will try and take away market share from entrenched brands in the city such as the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business. (Crain Communications Inc., which publishes Crain’s Chicago Business, also publishes BtoB and Media Business.)

“We respect McGraw-Hill’s ability to sell advertising, but we will compete with them successfully for both readers and advertisers,” said David Blake, publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business, which debuted in 1978. “Chicago is one of the most competitive markets in the country for ad dollars. You have many established players, and there’s always room for a new player, but they will have to prove themselves.”

Blake said that if BusinessWeek adds other regional editions it will likely bump up against local editions of American City Business Journals, a publisher that has a presence in 41 markets, including Boston, Denver and Las Vegas.

Michael Dizon, communications manager at the Chicago Tribune, said the newspaper had no comment on the launch of BusinessWeek Chicago.

Media buyers say they welcome the new publication. “Existing business books in Chicago are more news-driven, so the sweet spot for BusinessWeek Chicago would be a case study approach that provides in-depth business coverage not being addressed by other titles,” said Dick Strassburger, director of strategic planning for Chicago-based ad agency Colman Brohan Davis, who has bought ad space in BusinessWeek Chicago on behalf of a client that he would not name. “There’s a need for BusinessWeek to come into this market and drill down.”

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