Gerry Byrne, senior VP of the Entertainment Group that Nielsen Business Media recently created, compares the new unit to Macy's.
“It's about getting people aware of what's in this department store and letting them know what's in the tent,” said Byrne, who worked as an adviser to Nielsen Business Media for more than a year before taking charge of the Entertainment Group in February. “We want to make sure all the b-to-b platforms we have for readers, users and subscribers are complementary and integrated.”
The group combines Nielsen's top b-to-b entertainment brands into one portfolio. These include Back Stage, Billboard, The Bookseller, Film Journal International, The Hollywood Reporter, Kirkus Reviews and film industry expos ShowEast and ShoWest.
Previously, the company's entertainment properties were divided into two separate market groups: Film & Performing Arts and Music & Literary. John Kilcullen, who had served as senior VP of the two groups, left Nielsen in March.
The plan for the Entertainment Group, at least on paper, is to present media buyers with a unified go-to-market strategy. For instance, Billboard recently ran a special “Green” issue, while The Hollywood Reporter has a similar issue slated for April 18. “We can do a horizontal green issue” with some of the titles in the group “and take advantage of some of the larger relationships we have,” Byrne said, citing the green coverage as an example of the type of thematic issues that may run across multiple titles in the group.
Grouping complementary properties is an accelerating trend in b-to-b media.
United Business Media in late February restructured its CMP subsidiary into four market-focused businesses, each with its own CEO, and eliminated the CMP name. In January, as part of a major reorganization, Penton Media created an Agricultural & Food Group, combining Supermarket News with Beef and National Hog Farmer. Penton also formed a Technology Media Group, combining several trade titles, including Mobile Radio Technology, Sound & Video Contractor and Telephony.
“There's a trend to take companies that are sprawling and bring coherence to the way they operate. So I expect you'll see more of this,” said Alan Siegel, chairman-CEO of branding agency Siegel+Gale.
Regarding the new Nielsen group, Siegel said: “From a business point of view, it's smart to have brand architecture for products so people can understand what the products are and how they can access different parts of the business.”
A key component of the Entertainment Group is the Entertainment Council, an invitation-only organization that Nielsen introduced in March. Byrne is spearheading the council.
“The goal is to create a "living Davos,'” Byrne said, referring to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which draws senior executives from business and media, among other disciplines.
The council comprises senior executives from the film and TV industries, traditional media, digital media and Wall Street to “give us a living intelligence on where the [entertainment] marketplace is headed,” he said.
The group will also take advantage of the numerous analytics divisions throughout parent company Nielsen Co., including Nielsen EDI, which provides measurement, information and research for the film industry, and Nielsen Online (formerly BuzzMetrics), which measures and analyzes Web audiences, advertising and e-commerce. “We want to tap into the company's resources to support all businesses” in the new entertainment portfolio, Byrne said. M