Eric Biener, VP-business development at Nielsen Business Media, oversees a team of 20 people involved in the creation and sale of digital products and services. Biener acts as publisher of the company's webinar, virtual trade show, streaming media and job portal business units. He joined Nielsen in 2006 after a stint with Ziff Davis Media. In his first full year at Nielsen in 2007, he and his team produced 37 webinars; the following year, that number almost doubled to 72. Biener expects to produce more than 100 webinars this year.
Media Business: What are some of the keys to your success in growing the webinar business?
For one thing, we don't overwhelm our customers with the bells and whistles of the delivery mechanism. We focus on return on investment and the dialogue we're building. Right now, social media is all the rage. Similarly, whether it's a webcast or a virtual trade show, we're creating environments for like-minded business professionals to share information. This format takes advantage of economies of scale, the convenience of not having to travel and interactivity. The editorial component is the key to driving traffic and interest. Elliot Markowitz is our editorial director for webcasts/digital events. We don't have to share the resource of the imbedded editors at the brands, but Elliot creates content based on his peer-to-peer relationships with those editors. Technology is just a mechanism to deliver content to the end-users and to enable them, when they digest that content, to do their jobs more efficiently.
MB: What's new in the webinar world?
We're starting to ramp up our virtual trade show delivery. We see this as a huge area for growth. We've gone from having one virtual trade show in '07 to eight last year. This year, we have 12 on the calendar already. One reason we're making huge strides is actually the down economy. It's an advantage for marketers to eliminate the cost of travel, the union fees associated with setting up a trade show booth and shipping. While print advertising is down and online advertising is flattening, I don't hear anyone talking about a downturn in streaming media or digital events. —M.G.