More than a year in the making, the strategic repositioning of Commercial Property News and Multi-Housing News was unveiled with the September issues. The two monthlies, formerly tabloid-size, sported new designs in a 9-by-10½-inch format. Meanwhile, the focus of the magazines shifted from news reporting to news analysis, industry research and thought leadership.
The redesigned Web sites were relaunched with more breaking news, more exclusive online content and additional media types, including MHN-TV and CPN Radio, as well as blogs, webinars and the first digital editions of each title.
“We've recognized that news belongs online rather than in the magazines,” said Patrick Brennan, VP of Nielsen Business Media's Building and Design Media Group, “Once we took news out of the magazines, we made changes in their focus, organization and, in the case of CPN, frequency.” CPN, which previously was published 21 times a year, is now monthly.
Brennan and the two teams had been preparing for these changes well in advance. “We had to make sure we had the resources in place,” he said. “We added two online editors at CPN and one at MHN to cover the news. That allowed us to take some of the daily news responsibilities away from a corps of senior editors, who can unleash their talents writing more feature stories and blogs.”
On the business side, CPN got a new publisher, Victoria Osorio, in March. Instead of a couple of staff salespeople, she now oversees five independent reps. “We're able to reach marketers in ways we couldn't before,” Brennan said. In addition, an online sales manager “is focused completely on this group.”
Even though the commercial real estate market has not suffered as much as residential over the past two to three years, “it has been down across the board” in 2008, Brennan said. “At the end of last year, we saw financial advertising start to dry up.”
The group decided to go forward with the new strategy anyway. “We'll take our lumps this year, but we're positioning these brands for the inevitable recovery,” Brennan said.
Brennan is also intent on broadening the titles' audiences and advertiser bases. “For both, we have expanded coverage of technology, new products and design, which creates an opportunity for us to talk to manufacturers we never could have before,” he said. M