Vertical Outlook: Technology

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2005 YTD pages: 30,101.5

2004 YTD pages: 31,331.4

% change: -3.92

Bright spots: Online advertising continues to increase. From a product segment perspective, hot areas will include security, content and data management, storage, business intelligence and mobile computing.

Challenges: As lead-generation programs become standard, b-to-b media will be weeded according to their ability to produce hard results.

Following a strong fourth quarter, the computing sector of b-to-b technology media looks promising for 2006.

"We're still dealing in a world that works month to month, quarter to quarter, but the indicators are there for a good year," said Scott Vaughan, publisher of CMP Media's InformationWeek. "I expect print advertising to be flat to down a few percent, while the online business will be up 10% or more."

Ad pages in the computing technology sector slipped nearly 4% in the first 10 months of 2005, as IT marketers continued to shift their advertising spending from print to online and events.

Matt Sweeney, publisher, president and CEO of Computerworld Inc., estimated that marketing in the industry now breaks down 50% to 60% print advertising, 20% to 25% online advertising and 20% to 25% events. "Given the outlook for IT spending, which is for moderate growth, I think 2006 will be a good year," he said.

Sweeney identified several segments he expects to grow faster than average, including security, content and data management, storage, business intelligence, mobile computing and blade servers.

Vaughan said there's been a subtle shift on the part of advertisers from integrated media to what he calls "cross media."

"Companies are clearly asking for campaigns and initiatives based on whom they are trying to reach and how those people are consuming and using information," he said. "While integration is more about efficiency, cross media is based on the science of connecting with the audience across platforms."

Both Vaughan and Sweeney said they expect marketers to demand more innovation, from video content and advertising opportunities to international custom projects. "All the work we've been doing over the past three or four years to invest in technology and infrastructure is beginning to pay off," Vaughan said. -M.G.

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