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CMP’s restructuring puts focus on online products

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The major restructuring CMP Technology announced last month reflects the growing pressure on technology publishers to reduce their exposure to print advertising and boost their online operations.

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

Ever-increasing demands from technology marketers for more electronic messaging are at the heart of CMP's changes.

"B-to-b media companies need to bring buyers and sellers together now more than ever, so the pendulum will keep swinging to online," said Mark Edmiston, managing director of media investment bank AdMedia Partners. "Print will not disappear, but there will be a lot more books that won't be distributed through ink on paper. … I'm surprised [CMP] didn't move faster."

Steve Weitzner, president-CEO of CMP, said the changes are the most dramatic—and difficult—moves he has made since taking charge in September 2005.

"Everybody is trying to adjust their print inventory, and in the past we've nibbled away at the edges. But this is a sizable change," he said, adding that CMP's online revenue is up about 20% compared with 2006.

Under the restructuring, CMP is shuttering Network Computing and Optimize and folding their content into InformationWeek. 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 reducing the frequency of CRN to biweekly from weekly and VARBusiness from biweekly to monthly. All of these changes take effect this month.

With fewer print products, CMP is 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.

Uphoff said he is not anticipating any drop-off among advertisers due to the restructuring.

Carol Kurimsky, VP-marketing at Ingram Micro, North America, one of CMP's top 10 advertisers, said the company is evaluating how the restructuring will affect its media spending with the publisher.

"Business people are increasingly turning to the Web for up-to-date news, so it isn't surprising that CMP is reducing its print and increasing its Web presence," Kurimsky said.

The restructuring will 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 are indicative of 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%.

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

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