Special Report: No. 2

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Business Week Group President-Publisher William Kupper said he's glad he said, "Thanks, but no thanks," to those media buyers who, during the peak of the Internet craze, kept on asking when he would spin off the magazine's e-business supplement.

"We never intended to take it out of the magazine," Kupper said. "We've always felt that the Web coverage would become part of the fabric of editorial." The supplement, which sold out all five times it ran in 1999, is scheduled to run a dozen times this year, as well as in 2002.

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It's the commitment to high-technology coverage with an eye on tradition that makes Business Week a perennial for b-to-b media buys. Despite the dot-com crash, the magazine, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 1999, "hasn't lost any ground in its reputation," said Carolyn Riby, VP-media director for Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland."It still manages to fill a very strong niche in the b-to-b field."

Vicki Szombathy, VP-media director for Chicago-based ad agency StarLink Worldwide, added, "It's like table stakes. You have to be there." And many of the major b-to-b players include the likes of Accenture, Andersen, FedEx Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

But the softening ad market has not left Business Week unscathed. Ad pages for the first quarter were down 30% to 801 from 1,147 during the same period last year, while first-quarter ad revenues were down 24% to $83.5 million from $110.1 million in 2000. Kupper said he's hopeful the magazine can finish up 2001 around 1999 levels, when ad pages totaled 5,992 and ad revenues $443.3 million.

Circulation remains robust, with a guaranteed rate base boost in January to 950,000 from 900,000. Business Week already offers advertisers a multipronged marketing platform via its print, online and conferencing divisions. The magazine brand will extend to broadcast when it relaunches the existing personal finance show "Money Talks" in September under the Business Week name.

Gene DeWitt, chairman of Optimedia International US, said Business Week delivers on all fronts. "It's a magazine that people read thoroughly, which means they're more likely to pay attention to the ads."

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