Business 2.0 has drawn concern from Time Inc. brass for some time, not least because its ad pages sank 7.7% in 2005, and 5.1% in 2006, according to Publishers Information Bureau. For 2007 through the September issue, ad pages were down a crushing 35.3%, per the Media Industry Newsletter. Paid and verified circulation averaged 608,328 during the first half of this year, down 3.9% from the first half last year, according to the title's report to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
A group rallies
Following a New York Times report that the September issue would likely be the last, some of the magazine's fans began a Facebook group called "I read Business 2.0 -- and I want to keep reading!" More than 2,300 people signed up.
But staffers and Facebook boosters alike will learn today that the October issue really is the last. Time Inc. spent the past couple months exploring other options for Business 2.0, including a sale to Fast Company publisher Mansueto Ventures, without success.
Although the shutdown for Business 2.0, which follows magazine closures this year from Child to Premiere, doesn't come as a complete surprise, it poses some interesting questions going forward. For one thing, the move is the first from Vivek Shah since he was named president of the Time Inc. Business and Finance Network in June. It wouldn't be surprising if Mr. Shah had further moves planned, possibly including a reorganization of the struggling group.
Rolling Business 2.0 into Fortune also suggests some intriguing possibilities. The Business 2.0 focus on small business and innovation could certainly help enliven Fortune's pages. Some but not all of the Business 2.0 staff will likely be offered spots at Fortune. Josh Quittner, editor in chief of Business 2.0, is expected to be offered a role at Fortune.
A Time Inc. Business and Finance Group spokeswoman declined to comment. Mansueto Ventures did not respond to an inquiry yesterday afternoon before deadline.