Top Trades: Computer Reseller News

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Founded in 1982, Computer Reseller News is an old-timer in an industry that worships the new. Nonetheless, CRN remains a revered publication, in large part because it has remained fresh through continual innovation.

Here's proof of the magazine's vitality: No other publication in North America carried more ad pages in 1998. Even though CRN, like many tech publications, experienced a 10.2% decline in ad pages last year, the magazine totaled 7,592 ad pages in 1998, according to Adscope, Eugene, Ore.

Published by: CMP Media, Manhasset, N.Y.
Publisher: Kevin Mannion
VP-editor in chief: Robert Faletra
Circulation director: Carolyn Giroux
Frequency: Weekly
Circulation: 115,000
Readership: Reaches 55,000 value- added resellers, as well as systems integrators and IT consultants.
Rates: 4C page 1x, $22,475; 4C page 13x, $21,330
Marketing opportunities: Research, product testing, Web site, CRN Radio, CRN TV.
1998 ad pages: 7,592
Ad Page growth: Declined 3.1% from'94-'98
The book, published by CMP Media, Manhasset, N.Y., teems with ads from marketers such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif., which has relied on CRN to reach the channel since the dawn of the personal computer age.

"It's like the Bible for us in the channel," says Jan McDaniel, worldwide advertising manager for personal systems, Hewlett-Packard. Resellers "know it, they read it, they respect it."

Changing with the channel

CRN has remained attractive to marketers because it has evolved with the channel. As resellers went from being storefront operations to multibillion-dollar companies, CRN followed suit, updating its own image and moving from newsprint to glossy stock in 1989.

The CRN brand has thrived by continually updating itself, both inside and outside the book.

"We're always saying to ourselves, `If you're not changing, you're probably dying,' " says Robert Faletra, CRN's VP-editor in chief.

Inside the book, CRN made a significant change in January 1998. It decided to bump an advertiser off the back cover, seizing that space for editorial. CRN's leadership thinks that move showed its ongoing commitment to providing resellers with news they can use.

"We definitely think of ourselves as The Wall Street Journal of the channel," says Kevin Mannion, CRN's publishing director.

The focus on editorial extends outside the book, as well, specifically to CRN Online. The Web site is updated several times a day.

Other brand extensions include CRN News Radio, a collection of sound bites and interviews that resellers can listen to via Internet interactive conferences, and the Computer Reseller News Hall of Fame.

At the Computer Museum of Boston, CRN has helped create a Cooperstown for the giants of bits and bytes. The magazine dedicates a special issue every year to the induction ceremony, which provides sponsorship opportunities.

Last month, CRN may have launched its biggest brand extension to date. It's a new magazine aimed at the channel's large systems integrators, called CRN Enterprise Partner.

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