At the organization's 34th annual spring meeting, held here last week, ABP members agreed to adopt new bylaws that would extend affiliate membership status to business-to-business information providers outside the usual publishing companies.
Affiliate members will pay 50% of regular membership dues, and will not be allowed to vote or have representatives serve as ABP officers.
ABP has traditionally served as a trade group for publishers of business-to-business publications. By opening its membership to outsiders, ABP is aiming to position itself to better serve the needs of current members who are extending their businesses beyond print.
A survey conducted by BPA International and PIC, a media strategy and services company, found that 80% of BPA member titles surveyed operate a Web site. Of the 20% that did not yet have a site, 74% said they would be launching one within the year. BPA audits the circulation of business and consumer titles.
John Wickersham, president-CEO of Bill Communications and incoming ABP chairman, said the new membership rules "will ensure strong ABP membership in the newly emerging digital environment."
Outgoing ABP Chairman Norbert Schumacher, exec VP-publishing services for McGraw-Hill Cos., said with the new bylaws ABP "was truly prepared to face the future."
Along with Mr. Wickersham's appointment to chairman, ABP named Marshall Freeman, chairman of Miller Freeman, vice chairman; Daniel J. Ramella, president of Penton Media, secretary; and Timothy C. O'Brien, VP-chief financial officer of Ziff-Davis, treasurer.