McGraw-Hill Construction brings regional approach to 'ENR'

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McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC) completed the rollout of its new approach to regional coverage Feb. 28 with the insertion of ENR Mountain States into the editions of Engineering News-Record mailed to that geographical area. The first of seven regional editions published under the ENR brand, which dates back to 1917, was ENR Southeast, which debuted Jan. 10.

Six regional editions—ENR California, ENR Midwest, ENR Mountain States, ENR Southeast, ENR Southwest and ENR Texas & Louisiana—are being bound within ENR six times a year. The seventh, ENR New York, is published 10 times annually as a supplement and polybagged with ENR. All seven regional brands have their own websites.

Until the end of last year, MHC published 10 freestanding, controlled-circulation regional construction publications, which have been shuttered. Construction titles were previously published for the mid-Atlantic, northwest and south central regions in addition to the seven current ENR regions. Other regional editions have picked up editorial coverage, advertising and circulation from those areas. For example, ENR Southeast now handles projects and news from the mid-Atlantic region.

“The economic environment for commercial building has been really tough,” said Keith Fox, who was named president of MHC a year ago this month. Fox, who joined McGraw-Hill in 2000, was president of BusinessWeek from 2007 until its sale in December 2009 to Bloomberg. Since joining MHC, Fox and his team have been “really focused on how we invest our dollars and finite resources into the products that our customers [will view as] most essential to them.”

The new plan for the regional editions is designed to increase efficiency, provide more value to advertisers and give readers what they want, Fox said. “In recent ENR reader research, our subscribers identified regional news as the most compelling enhancement we could make,” he said.

Advertising response has been good. “We've seen strong ad sales for these new regional editions—so far, up 90% year-over-year,” Fox said.

ENR is a paid-subscription title in print; much of the online content has been available only to subscribers for the past five years. “Regional editions are distributed to the paid subscribers of ENR in each of the seven regions served,” Fox said. “When paid subscribers did not total 7,500, which is our regional edition rate base, we supplemented the circulation with qualified controlled subscribers from the former regional publication.”

Before names were added, they were “qualified by their firm's construction volume and activity in the McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge project database, which ensures that we are delivering the most active firms in the region,” Fox said. “We expect many of these controlled subscribers will upgrade to paid status over time.”

The shift of strategy for the regional editions is just one sign of changing times for MHC. Last month, the unit launched a new business intelligence platform called Dodge SpecShare Suite, which provides building product manufacturers with a customized dashboard that enables them to identify sales and marketing opportunities within more than 50,000 digitized project specifications and plans in the Dodge database.

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