DM job market sees renewed confidence B-to-b media suffers revenue declines ZenithOptimedia revises global forecast upward Media M&A continues to show signs of life Businesses like social media for lead-gen RBI sells "Publishers Weekly' to start-up

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The direct marketing industry is experiencing more job stability, and employers continue to lift their hiring freezes, according to the latest employment survey from direct marketing executive search company Bernhart Associates. The company polled 454 organizations online between March 23 and April 7 for its “Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report.” Forty-three percent of respondents said they will add staff during the current quarter, down from 46% who planned to hire in the first quarter. However, only 20% of respondents still maintain a hiring freeze, compared with the 45% that weren't hiring six months ago. The percentage of companies planning layoffs in the current quarter fell to 3%, the lowest level in three years, Bernhart reported. All three major b-to-b media revenue streams declined in 2009 compared with 2008, according to figures released by American Business Media. B-to-b print revenue was hardest hit, plunging 24.0% to $7.5 billion last year from $9.9 billion in 2008. Trade shows also suffered a double-digit revenue decline, falling 15.8% to $9.4 billion last year. Even digital revenue tumbled 3.0%, dipping to $4.0 billion last year. “Given the state of the economy last year, we are not surprised to see that each of the platforms has experienced a decline,” ABM President-CEO Gordon T. Hughes II said in a statement. “We believe that 2010 will show a more positive performance.” Citing a tentative global economic recovery, ZenithOptimedia revised its forecast for global ad spending growth this year to 2.2% from 0.9%. This marked the second upgrade in a row from the media firm after 18 consecutive months of downgrades. ZenithOptimedia expects growth to accelerate over the next two years, with global ad spending improving by 4.1% in 2011 and 5.3% in 2012. Most of the growth this year will stem from developing markets, which are expected to grow 5.8%. Developed markets (which include North America, Western Europe and Japan) are expected to contract a combined 0.8% this year. North America itself will contract 1.5%, according to the forecast. Internet spending remains a bright spot globally; its share of ad expenditures will increase to 17.1% by 2012, ZenithOptimedia projects, up form 12.6% in 2009. The mergers and acquisitions market in media, information, marketing services and technology continued its modest recovery in the first quarter, according to tabulations released by media investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group. The number of deals increased 70% to 234 in the first quarter compared with the year-earlier period, and aggregate deal value leaped by a factor of five to $8.2 billion in the same time frame. Sequentially, however, aggregate deal value fell 43% in the first quarter of this year compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, even as deal volume rose 58% in the same time frame. M&A activity in b-to-b online media exploded in the first quarter compared with the year-earlier period. The number of transactions jumped to 36 (up from three) and the total value ballooned to $407 million (up from $16 million). Most businesses either already use social media as a lead-generation tool or plan to begin leveraging its lead-gen potential, according to a poll conducted last week by business research company Hoover's Inc. Hoover's polled 395 viewers of its Hoover's Business Insight Zone blog with a single question: “Do you use social media to generate business leads?” A total of 191 replied yes, and 97 said it's in their plans, for a combined 73% of the total. The remaining 27% replied that they do not use social media as a lead-gen channel and have no plans to do so. PWxyz LLC announced it has acquired Publishers Weekly, the Publishers Weekly Show Daily and from Reed Business Information-US. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. PWxyz is a new company formed by George W. Slowik Jr., who ran Publishers Weekly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Slowik, who will hold the title of president, plans to retain all the brand's editorial, art and advertising employees.
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