"I know it may seem counterintuitive given the difficulty that print's having," said John Byrne, executive editor and editor in chief at BusinessWeek.com. "But in fact we feel that there's so much opportunity out there in local markets that we think we're going to go ahead and make this a big success for us."
The environment for business magazines has indeed been tough -- to say the least -- with new competition from both the web and new entries such as the high-profile launch from Condé Nast of Portfolio.
BusinessWeek, part of the McGraw-Hill Cos., reported average paid circulation of 919,343 for the first half of this year, a 1.2% gain over first-half 2006. That boost was built on the strength of a 25.3% newsstand jump despite a 1.6% slip in subscriptions. But ad pages this year through the Aug. 20 issue came in almost 15.6% short of their total over the equivalent period last year, according to the Media Industry Newsletter.
The new arrival will enter a market already crowded with business news outlets, including Crain's Chicago Business, a sibling of Advertising Age within Crain Communications.
"While there is some comp in this field," Mr. Byrne said, "the competition isn't anything like what that magazine will be.
Focus on analysis
BusinessWeek Chicago will start life with a controlled circulation of 60,000, sent to a selected list of BusinessWeek subscribers and others in Chicago. Its monthly frequency means it will emphasize analysis while its coming website handles breaking news.
Michael Arndt, a senior correspondent in BusinessWeek's Chicago bureau, was named editor of the new publication.
If BusinessWeek Chicago succeeds, Mr. Byrne said other cities will follow. He declined to identify which cities the company is considering.