Are events saving media companies?

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We all know print is tough, and while online revenue grows quickly, it's still a small percentage of most b-to-b media companies' revenue—generally around 10%. But clearly the trade show space is going strong, as total revenue for the sector has surpassed b-to-b print revenue this year, according to American Business Media's Business Information Network data. While overall b-to-b media M&A activity slowed in the first half of this year (see story, page 13), event deals were still fairly strong. According to a recent study by media investment bank DeSilva+Phillips and AMR International, an M&A consultancy, there were 26 trade show deals in the first half of this year. That compares with 36 in all of 2007. Clearly, we have seen many companies, such as UBM, buying up events to supplement their other media offerings. And, of course, many companies have added smaller events in addition to their larger trade shows. Events have always been important to marketers, and they are more important now than ever because of the need for leads and marketing ROI. Perhaps more important, events of all sizes are a great way to generate nonadvertising revenue from attendees. According to the DeSilva+Phillips/AMR study, events generate profit margins greater than 40%. Many of us from traditional print media companies have seen the light as events have helped us through print slowdowns and become a significant revenue contributor. So I guess I will see you at a trade show soon! Bob Felsenthal can be reached at
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