Penton CEO optimistic about '04 advertising prospects

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New York--Penton Media Chairman-CEO Tom Kemp is optimistic about prospects for a mild recovery in b-to-b advertising in 2004.

In a "View From the Top" panel discussion at Primedia's Folio: Show, Kemp said he expected growth next year in the low single digits, and perhaps in the mid-single digits.

The general mood at the Folio: Show, which serves both b-to-b and consumer publishing companies, was cautiously upbeat, though the industry is struggling to explain why it gets a smaller share of ad dollars than many other media.

In a panel discussion on "How Publishers Can Survive and Thrive in a Fragmented Media Marketplace," ad agency media strategists offered assessments of where magazines were weak and how they could improve.

Panelist Caroline Riby, media director at Roberts Communications, asked, "When was the last time you heard someone say, 'I'm going to go curl up with a good business-to-business magazine'?" She said b-to-b books need to think more like consumer titles, be more entertaining and acknowledge that their readers have lives outside of work. She pointed out, for instance, that The Wall Street Journal reviews wines and movies.

--Sean Callahan

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