Top Trades 2006: Baseline

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Company: Ziff Davis 2005 revenue: $13.7 million 2004 revenue: $12.0 million Revenue growth: 14% Circulation: 125,000

When Baseline debuted in November 2001, just two months after the 9/11 attacks and in the midst of an economic slump, the reaction in the marketplace was less than enthusiastic.

"The natural reaction was: `How can you launch a b-to-b [computer] publication when technology markets are in turmoil?' " said Stephen Veith, VP-publishing director of Baseline . "But we were never a `tech' book, but a business book that starts with the premise of the company and then goes on to how to implement technology."

"We took the approach of going deep versus everything else at the time of the launch, which was going wide," Veith said.

Since launching in what Veith describes as the "perfect storm," Baseline has had four years of consistent growth in both ad pages and ad revenue. Veith said the monthly has resonated with readers because it tackles IT services as "business drivers" rather than as new software tools.

Following the dot-com debacle earlier this decade, "senior-level execs needed a new type of information that would help them articulate the value of computers to the decision-makers," Veith said, adding that for years technology had been viewed as an expense. "But when the world changed in 2001, it was no longer about the need to justify tech spend, but how IT can extend the business-value proposition of a company."

Veith has developed several special editorial issues to maintain and extend the brand. These efforts included the launch in 2004 of "The Baseline 500" issue, ranking the top companies creating the most value from technology. Advertisers included Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. In 2005, Baseline launched two special annual issues: "Baseline Leadership," which covers peer-to-peer IT research, and "Year of Living Dangerously," which focuses on IT-security practices.

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