Ted Bahr, president of BZ Media and publisher of the recently launched Systems Management News, thinks he has the right prescription for b-to-b media executives who still believe in print.
“We've found a formula for print publications in the post-Internet age: twice-per-month frequency, tabloid size and targeting a middle-management audience,” Bahr said. “Middle managers have questions that are broad in nature, whereas IT workers need answers to questions immediately, which they find on the Web.”
Systems Management News, a biweekly magazine targeting IT systems administration managers, data center managers and IT operations managers, debuted April 15 with an initial circulation of 40,000. Bahr said he hopes to increase circulation 10% to 15% annually. The initial ad-to-edit ratio is 35-65, with 16 advertisers in the first issues, Bahr said. The print product is supported by a Web site featuring daily news and a weekly e-newsletter, “Systems Management Week.”
Bahr is facing one of the hardest-hit ad sectors, with computing, software, telecommunications advertising down 17.8% in revenue and 11.7% in pages last year compared with 2006, according to Business Information Network.
Nevertheless, Bahr is confident Systems Management News is well-positioned for when the economy starts to bounce back. “Any b-to-b print publication is "how-to' in nature. But if you continue to do that, you're going to be beaten by the Web,” he said. “With print, you want to stop the world twice a month and allow readers to step back and get some perspective, as opposed to the daily firehose from the Web.”
Robert Williams, VP-sales and marketing at Software FX, a data visualization components vendor, has bought ad space in the first two issues of Systems Management News. “The doom and gloom about print is overblown,” he said. “I still like to see things in print, and you're going to get the news presented a little differently in a biweekly.”
BZ Media isn't alone in launching a print title this year.
MediaTec Publishing, which publishes Chief Learning Officer and Talent Manage-ment, plans to roll out Diversity Executive in September. The bimonthly magazine, which will focus on managing diversity in the workplace, will target 25,000 C-level executives, senior human resources managers, corporate training executives, representatives of community organizations, and federal and state government officials.
“It fits our existing books like a glove,” said Norm Kamikow, president-editor in chief of MediaTec Publishing. “There's a need for it, and the market wants it.” M