Roome with a view of ABM goals

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Hugh Roome, president of Scholastic International, takes over as chairman of American Business Media on July 1, succeeding William A. Morrow, exec VP-operations of Crain Communications Inc. Roome recently discussed his outlook on b-to-b media and his goals for his year as chairman in an interview with Media Business Media Editor Sean Callahan.

MB: You're bullish on b-to-b media. Why?

Roome: The current state of b-to-b media is that the member companies (of ABM) are in a process of transforming themselves to take advantage of the digital communications world.

One aspect of that is rich data. Each of the magazine companies is developing unique information that is available in other formats. It is quantitative information in some cases. It's trend information, both in numbers and in qualitative analysis, that is unique and in many cases invaluable to the industry.

I think the mission of ABM to help the member companies be more successful-in print, in person and online-is the key.

MB: What goals do you have for your term as ABM chairman?

Roome: The board met about a year ago and developed a detailed three-year strategic plan. It's a great plan, and it is to focus on the strength of the organization in these areas: One is governmental affairs. How do we ensure that on issues such as postal rates and intellectual property rights that we as a business collective do as much as possible to support the objectives of the members?

The second area of focus I'll call professional development. It's how do we provide information and training opportunities, so that the publishers can be more successful. This is done through events and the committees and things like white papers.

The key subjects are pretty straightforward: First, it's realizing digital opportunities by exchanging best practices on how our various members are using the Internet, including rich data. And second, most of our members believe there's a real opportunity to expand overseas, so the association is working to provide information to help develop overseas business and overseas partnerships. 

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