Business 2.0 Lives to See Another Issue -- For Now
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- This past Monday, the staff of Business 2.0 assembled for what they thought would be a final group photo. Preparations to ship the September issue, expected to be the magazine's last, were near completion. Nothing had been done for an October issue, which as far as anyone there knew would never come out. Time Inc. was finally pulling the plug.
But then it all changed -- at least for the moment. "Late in the day, we get the call: The governor has granted a reprieve to explore other options," said one staffer. "This is at once celebrated and greeted with horror. How the hell can we produce another issue? Meetings are called, a battle plan produced. We live to fight another day."
Many fans, few ads
The extraordinary turn of events, which by no means guarantees that the October issue will ever see the light of day, was only the latest in a strange series of developments at Business 2.0, a magazine with many fans but rapidly falling advertising. That ad-page decline, a whopping 34.1% in the first half of the year, had many wondering whether the title would be squeezed out amid intensifying competition in the business-news category.
Then The New York Times reported on July 17 that Business 2.0's September issue might be its last. The next day, a fan who said he has no relation to the magazine other than his affection for it, started a Facebook group called "I read Business 2.0 -- and I want to keep reading!"
Membership quickly swelled to include Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. Interactive and a former president of the magazine; Craig Newmark of Craigslist; Om Malik, creator of the blog GigaOm; and James Ledbetter, formerly of The Industry Standard. As of this writing, membership stands at 2,086.
Yesterday, Valleywag reported that employees had been asked to stay to work on an October issue after all. Offers to buy Business 2.0 have begun arriving at Time Inc., although it's not clear whether any are sizeable or serious enough to provide a real alternative to shutting down. Time Inc. could also decide not to try a sale and instead fold some of the magazine's talent and editorial into Fortune.
A spokeswoman for the Time Inc. Business and Finance Group said Time Inc. is still considering what to do. "The Facebook reaction is a great example of an impassioned reader base using the web to make its voice heard and is a testament to the excellence of Business 2.0's reporting," she said. "While we haven't come to any final decisions, we're committed to finding a way to provide its readers with the innovative business coverage they've come to expect."