ZIFF-DAVIS DEFECTION, BUSINESS MEDIA DEALS SEND ABP SCRAMBLING: TRADE GROUP SET TO EXPAND MEMBER BASE

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[williamsburg, va.] American Business Press was dealt a sharp blow to the pocketbook at its annual meeting last week when Ziff-Davis pulled out.

Ziff-Davis' departure follows the announcement of Miller Freeman's pending acquisition of CMP Media, which also will reduce membership ranks by one. Ziff-Davis and CMP were in the highest dues tier, each paying $150,000 per year.

The loss of $300,000 in annual dues cuts away nearly 10% of the association's 1998 dues revenues of $3.3 million.

Ziff-Davis said it will remain a member of Magazine Publishers of America, which primarily represents consumer magazines. ABP's members are mostly business-to-business publishers. Ziff-Davis' ABP membership expires June 30.

MPA, ABP 'OVERLAP'

"We've seen a lot of overlap between the MPA and ABP lately" in terms of marketing, education and lobbying efforts, said Tim O'Brien, Ziff-Davis chief financial officer, who resigned last week as ABP treasurer. "We just thought it made more sense to focus our efforts on one organization."

Mr. O'Brien also said the technology publisher's "focus is pretty extensively on the consumer side." Ziff-Davis' properties include Yahoo! Internet Life and Family PC.

ABP President Gordon Hughes said Ziff-Davis' departure was expected. He also said the pace of acquisitions among business media companies is a constant threat to the association's funding.

"We weren't surprised" by the Ziff-Davis move, "which is why I'm not pulling my hair out," Mr. Hughes said.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONLINE

To boost its member base, ABP plans to offer full voting (and full dues-paying) membership to online publications, exhibition companies and other providers of business information. Mr. Hughes said the change in policy will be addressed at ABP's board meeting in August.

At the May 10 ABP board meeting, Alan Douglas, president of Douglas Publications, spearheaded an effort to stave off "quick-fix" funding alternatives such as a one-time assessment to members. He indicated that because the drop in membership is caused by large, acquisition-minded publishers, small

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