Media spending in 2003, beyond

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Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s latest "Communications Industry Forecast & Report" arrived a few days ago on my desk—actually landed with a thud, all 497 pages of it. Although the section on b-to-b media spending will not spark dancing in the streets, it does have happier news than last year’s report, which tracked the horrendous declines in business media spending in 2001—down 17.7% for b-to-b magazines and down 3.2% for trade shows and exhibitions, for a total decline of 12.7%.

The latest report shows spending on magazines declined 13.3% to $11.2 billion in 2002, and spending on events fell 1.2% to $8 billion, for a net decline of 8.7%.

Best of all, the new report forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% for 2002-2007, reaching $24.2 billion in 2007. And the hemorrhaging in the electronic and electrical engineering titles, which plunged 25.3% in 2002, may finally be over; the report expects "no further deceleration" in 2003 and a modest recovery (2.7%) in 2004.

The new numbers indicate reason for, as the report aptly puts it, "cautious optimism," especially considering the performance of this year’s first half.

"Shrugging off the overriding sense of negativity that dogged the business-to-business media segment for two years, major market drivers showed signs of recovery in the first half of 2003," the report states.

The slow but steady return of spending will make business publishing a very interesting sector over the next few years, as the battered survivors regroup. It was this trend that encouraged us to launch BtoB’s Media Business, a monthly supplement to BtoB aimed at b-to-b publishing executives and decision-makers. This month’s edition is the first monthly issue of Media Business, and it tangibly demonstrates our own cautious optimism. For more about Media Business, visit

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