Electronic Engineering

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2005 YTD pages: 22,410.6

2005 YTD pages: 24,610.5

% change: -8.94%

Bright spots: A surge of online advertising dollars is flowing to b-to-b publishers that can generate leads and other measurable results. China and custom publishing are also hot.

Challenges: B-to-b media companies will be under more pressure to generate leads and invest in new online products to compete.

The story in electronic engineering last year was the explosive growth online, with leaders boasting revenue increases as high as 50%. For 2006, executives estimate total advertising spending will climb 5% to 8%, with online continuing to take a larger share of the pie. An estimated 20% to 25% of revenue in the market now comes from the Internet.

"There was a profound shift in demand from print to the Web from advertisers and readers alike [in 2005]," said Stephen Moylan, president of Reed Business Information's Boston division and chairman of the Reed Electronics Group. "Rather than waiting for us to come to them with new ideas or new products, both advertisers and readers are saying they want more from us online."

Paul Miller, senior VP-group publisher of CMP Media's Electronics Group, noted print advertising dropped 33% a year from 2001 through 2003. By 2005, print page erosion was down to roughly 10%.

"I think that curve will continue to flatten," he said. "That erosion in print is more than offset by a real embracing of online and face-to-face."

Miller expects advertisers this year to focus on expanding their Web presence; broadening their global reach, particularly in China; and deepening their relationships with their top customers through custom publications and events.

Keeping the online business growing as strongly in 2006 as it did in 2005 will take "a lot of new products and offerings, as well as execution measured in terms of tangible results," Moylan said. "A limiting factor everyone probably shares is, how fast can you advance in RSS, podcasting, video and search? I think more of the advertisers want to partner with the companies that have the technology nailed." -Marie Griffin

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