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CMP restructuring reduces company’s exposure to print while boosting online presence

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The major restructuring CMP Technology announced last week is yet another sign of the pains technology publishers are taking to reduce their exposure to print advertising and ramp up their online operations.

The changes include the shuttering of several print titles, shrinking the frequency of two other magazines and the elimination of 200 jobs.

“Every company in the tech space is moving rapidly into online,” said Mark Edmiston, a managing director at media investment bank AdMedia Partners. “I’m surprised [CMP] didn’t move faster.

“B-to-b media companies need to bring buyers and sellers together now more than ever, so the pendulum will keep swinging to online,” Edmiston added. “Print will not disappear, but there will be a lot more [b-to-b] books that won’t be distributed through ink on paper.”

Under the restructuring, CMP is shuttering Network Computing and Optimize, and will fold their content into InformationWeek (440,000 circ.). As part of the revamp, InformationWeek will launch three monthly demographic editions: For IT, by IT (440,000 circ.); Strategic Security (220,000 circ.); and For CIOs, by CIOs (100,000 circ.). Each edition will have an online component.

“We’re giving advertisers a flexibility that they didn’t have before,” said Tony Uphoff, president of CMP’s Business Technology Group, referring to the demographic editions. “They can target specific buyers or run across the entire brand. Advertisers have come to expect the ability to target but also go broad.”

CMP is also closing SysAdmin and folding its content into Dr. Dobb’s Journal. The circulation of EE Times is being cut from 150,000 in print to 100,000 in print and 30,000 online. The company is also reducing the frequency of CRN to biweekly from weekly and VARBusiness from biweekly to monthly. All of these changes take effect in July.

“Everybody is trying to adjust their print inventory, and in the past we’ve nibbled away at the edges; but this is a sizeable change,” said Steve Weitzner, president-CEO of CMP, who since taking the reins in September 2005 has overseen several acquisitions designed to grow the company’s events business, including the $65 million acquisition of Interop, one of the largest IT events in North America.

The latest changes reduce the number of CMP print publications to 15 (from 24 in 2005). Weitzner said print represented 45% of total revenue for CMP in 2006 and, with the latest changes, will make up a smaller percentage this year.

CMP’s moves reflect a marketplace in which print advertising has been on a gradual decline. In the first quarter, b-to-b ad pages in the computing, software and telecommunications sector fell 5.27%, according to American Business Media. Ad revenue dropped 12.98%.

With fewer print products, CMP is aiming to expand electronically. Call Center is being folded as a print title and, starting in August, will be strictly online.

In August CMP’s TechWeb will introduce bMighty.com, a Web site aimed at small and midsize businesses, to complement its existing smallbizresource.com.

“I’m not sure we’re being Web-centric, but multimedia, including online events and beyond media services, is the here and now,” Weitzner said.

CMP’s restructuring comes less than two months after rival IDG Communications folded the print version of InfoWorld and shifted the publication’s content to the Web. Starting with the July issues, two major IDG titles—Computerworld and Network World—are shrinking their print editions from tabloid to newsmagazine format.

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