City business journals expand revenue streams

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Most of the talk at the recent Alliance of Area Business Publications' summer conference—both within the sessions and without—showed that publishers in the sector are concerned about the impact encroaching technology will have on their print business. Here are the titles of some of the conference sessions focused on harnessing (or fending off) technology:
  • “Trends in social media that grow readership and revenue”
  • “How do we drive traffic beyond daily emails and weekly e-newsletters"
  • “App-oplexy” (which explored the potential of apps)
David Snyder, publisher of Crain's Chicago Business, agreed that the Internet's threat was a major theme of the conference, held last month in Providence, R.I. “Print advertising is making a significant rebound this year, but not one of us can take that for granted,” he said. “We have to plan for the day when we need to rely on digital revenue to account for a majority of our revenue.” (Crain's Chicago Business is owned by Crain Communications Inc., which publishes Digital Directions.) Like most other area business journals—and business magazines in general—Crain's Chicago Business long ago reduced its dependence on print. It has a robust website, and the brand has moved aggressively into local face-to-face media. “Events have proven to be the fastest growing part of our business,” Snyder said. At the Des Moines Business Record, the story is similar. Publisher Janette Larkin said her company publishes two email newsletters per day and produces eight events a year. Digital is up 11% so far this year, she said. Even though the Des Moines Business Record has expanded its online and face-to-face businesses, Larkin speculated that her publication, as well as other regional business journals, have been somewhat insulated from the devastating blows that have struck the print business of vertical trade magazines. “We are very much like a community newspaper, which haven't been hurt as much as the big city dailies,” Larkin said. “The small-town community papers have been sheltered. They have a close relationship with their readers.”
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