Tag Archives: Barron’s

Biz magazine performance better, but still down in first quarter

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Business magazines continued to see their advertising revenue and pages decline in the first three months of the year, but at a slower pace than in 2009, according to an analysis of Publishers Information Bureau data by Talking Biz News.

The sector also performed better than the overall magazine industry

The 14 business magazines reported a decline 7.7 percent in ad pages for the quarter. That compares to a 9.4 percent decline for the overall magazine industry. (The data excludes ad pages from Conde Nast Portfolio and Fortune Small Business, both of which closed in the past year.)

In comparison, ad pages declined in business magazines by 28.7 percent in 2009.

The publications that performed the best included Inc., which saw a 17.8 percent increase in ad revenue and a 15.4 percent increase in ad pages, and Wired, which reported a 20.1 percent increase in ad revenue and an 11.2 percent rise in ad pages.

Fast Company reported a 16.9 percent increase in ad revenue and a 10.5 percent in ad pages, while Barron’s reported a 13.3 percent jump in ad revenue and a 7.5 percent increase in ad pages.

The worst performing business magazines during the quarter were the big three — Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes and Fortune.

BusinessWeek reported a 17.8 percent decline in ad revenue to $27.9 million for the quarter, and an 18.7 percent decline in ad pages for the quarter to 210.49 pages.

Forbes reported a 15.6 percent drop in ad revenue to $46.9 million and a 20.3 percent decline in ad pages to 341.68 pages.

Fortune reported an 11.4 percent decline in ad revenue to $33.6 million and a 16 percent drop in ad pages to 265.63 pages.

Overall, the magazine industry reported a 3.9 percent decline in ad revenue. The 14 business magazines reported a 6.4 percent decline in ad revenue in the first three months of the year. Last year, the business magazines reported a 21.7 percent decline in ad revenue.

See all of the data here.

Dow Jones: No iPad access until we test

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Eric Savitz, who blogs about tech for Barrons.com, has posted an internal Dow Jones & Co. policy related to the upcoming iPad and how it will interact with its networks.

The memo reads:

Apple will make the iPad available on April 3rd, 2010. We understand the commercial importance of this product as it presents another excellent opportunity to distribute elite Dow Jones content to millions of existing and new customers. As we did with the iPhone, our intention is to rapidly assess the device in terms of compatibility with our network and vital applications. It is our responsibility to ensure that our use of this device introduces no vulnerability to our critical infrastructure and services.

We are committed to completing a full test and certification process within two weeks of receiving the first unit. To ensure the integrity of our environment, we will not permit any iPad access to the Dow Jones global enterprise network until our tests are complete. After our testing is complete we will promptly communicate our findings and next steps to you.

Read more here.

Dow Jones, union reach agreement on new four-year contract

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Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Marketwatch.com, and the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees  have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract.

The package has been endorsed by the IAPE Bargaining Committee and is being reviewed by the union’s Executive Council. It will then be submitted to the full IAPE Board of Directors for debate and a vote before being submitted for a membership ratification vote before the end of April.

A notice on the union’s Web site states, “The company began these negotiations with a demand for blanket waivers covering every core element of the contract — and a demand that we surrender any right to negotiate wage increases, insisting, instead, that any future pay increases — or pay freezes — be at the sole discretion of management. We beat back each and every one of those demands.

“The company bargaining team will tell its bosses that IAPE has agreed to the same wage freeze imposed last year on non-union employees. The DJ bargaining team was under orders to deliver such a ‘freeze.’ Without it, there would be no contract. And although base rates don’t change until July 1, 2011, we’ve still managed to put more money in your pocket this year.

“Even though the company steadfastly refused lump-sum payments, signing bonuses, deferred raises and any other direct increase in weekly wages, we did negotiate a July 1st switch to the new (and better) health care plan, which will mean lower premiums immediately for more than 90% of IAPE members while maintaining current coverage. Those lower premiums are real money that you’ll see in your check every payday.”

Read more here. Union members will receive a 2 percent increase in pay in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Former journalists remember Byrne

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Bob Goldsborough has an obituary in the Chicago Tribune Monday of Harlan Byrne, the former Wall Street Journal editor and Barron’s Midwest editor who died last week at the age of 89.

Goldsborough writes, “He joined the Wall Street Journal in 1949 and worked in several bureaus before becoming assistant bureau manager in Chicago in 1961.

“‘Harlan was the guy responsible for breaking in all the new reporters who came into the Chicago bureau,’ said Wall Street Journal colleague Todd Fandell, who later worked for the Tribune and as editor of the trade publication Advertising Age.

“‘The thing I remember most about him is that he was a very gentle man,’ Fandell said. ‘I don’t remember him ever shouting or cracking under pressure, and some afternoons and early evenings were really pressure-filled.’

“Mr. Byrne continued to write articles and edit stories written by reporters in the bureau. He kept up with many colleagues years after they had moved on from the Chicago bureau.

“‘He was always interested in what you were doing and what your family was doing,’ Fandell said. ‘When I was at the Tribune in the late 1970s and at Advertising Age after that, we would get together three or four times a year and just chat about what we were doing.’”

Read more here.

Remembering a colleague

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Alan Abelson of Barron’s remembers Saturday his former colleague, Harlan Byrne, the Midwest editor of Barron’s who died earlier this week at the age of 89.

Abelson writes, “From his Barron’s perch in the Windy City, Harlan cast an inquiring and knowing eye on a wide swath of Corporate America, especially those muscular companies that made big ugly things that rust in the rain. He was a meticulous reporter of the highest integrity, a prolific writer, an unflappable, low-key interviewer, no matter how grouchy and intimidating the subject, an astute judge of markets and possessed of an extraordinary ability to separate fact from hyperbole, truth from spin.

“We can’t recall a single instance when one of the countless pieces he wrote elicited a complaint of inaccuracy from even the crankiest corporate chieftain. Would that all of us ink-stained wretches could say the same.

“Harlan graced the Barron’s masthead until he retired in 2002, but continued to turn out his thoroughly researched, well-wrought pieces for the magazine until 2006. Personally, he was bright, gentle and unfailingly generous, just one great guy. All of us at Barron’s and anyone lucky enough to have known Harlan will really miss him.”

Read more here.

Byrne, longtime Dow Jones journalist

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Harlan Byrne, a longtime business journalist who worked for The Wall Street Journal and for Barron’s for 56 years, died earlier this week in suburban Chicago. He was 89.

Byrne was a graduate of the University of Missouri.

An obituary notice in the Chicago Sun-Times states, “He joined The Wall Street Journal as a reporter in the Dallas bureau in 1949, and subsequently served as bureau chief in Houston, Cleveland and Philadelphia, before being transferred to the Chicago bureau in 1961.

“In 1985, he became Midwest editor of Barron’s, also a Dow Jones publication, and continued writing until 2005. Harlan was nominated by The Wall Street Journal for the Top 100 Business News Luminaries of the Century Awards, the Gerald R. Loeb Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 1982.”

Read more here.

Biz media lose court ruling

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Suzanne Barlyn of Dow Jones Newswires reports that business media such as Barron’s and Bloomberg have lost in a judge’s ruling as to whether documents could be unsealed that could shed light on charges that Mary Schapiro, now chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, misled brokers about terms of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s creation three years ago.

Barlyn reports, “U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of New York ruled late Monday that correspondence between the former National Association of Securities Dealers, or NASD, and the Internal Revenue Service would remain under a protective order. Lawyers from Dow Jones & Co., acting on behalf of Barron’s; Bloomberg L.P.; and The New York Times sought the information in connection with a 2007 class-action lawsuit led by Standard Investment Chartered, a California-based brokerage.

“A key issue in the case is the adequacy of a $35,000 payout NASD made to its individual members when it merged with the regulatory arm of the New York Stock Exchange to form the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra. In proxy material in December 2006, the NASD claimed that the IRS had precluded it from paying members more than $35,000 each. The lawsuit challenges that claim and says the NASD had plenty of money for a bigger payout.

“The motions by Dow Jones & Co. and other news organizations sought to review the IRS correspondence that purportedly established the $35,000 payout figure.”

Read more here.

Biz magazine ad revenue declined 22% in 2009, ad pages dropped 28.7%

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Advertising in 15 business magazines in 2009 fell by $340 million, or 21.7 percent, to $1.23 billion, due to the lingering recession, according to a Talking Biz News analysis of numbers released Tuesday by the Publishers Information Bureau.

Advertising pages in those same 15 magazines fell by 28.7 to 12,844.59 pages, according to the data. The numbers exclude Conde Nast Portfolio, which closed in late April.

Not one of the 15 remaining business glossied reported an increase in ad revenue or ad pages for the year, and the biz magazine sector fared worse than the overall magazine industry, which posted an 18.1 percent decline in ad revenue and a 25.6 percent drop in ad pages. Since 2006, the business magazine field has lost more than $650 million in revenue and nearly 10,000 ad pages.

The worst performing business magazine in 2009 in terms of ad revenue was Inc., which lost 46.4 percent, down to $46.6 million. The worst performing magazine for the year in terms of lost ad pages was Wired, down 39.6 percent to 694.37 pages.

Forbes magazine remained No. 1 in terms of advertising revenue, but its ad revenue fell 25.6 percent to $251.5 million.

And it lost its top spot in terms of of ad pages. Forbes ad pages fell 30.2 percent to 1937.14, while the Economist saw its ad pages fall 20.2 percent to 1970.55.

Among the other large biz titles, BusinessWeek — which was sold last year to Bloomberg LP — reported a 31.2 percent drop in ad revenue to $162.4 million and a 33.8 percent fall in ad pages to 1,247.01. Fortune magazine reported similar numbers with a 33.9 percent drop in ad revenue to $182.9 million and a 36 percent decline in ad pages to 1,523.98.

The Economist was the best performing in terms of ad revenue, dropping 12.8 percent to $114.7 million. Entrepreneur magazine was the best performing in terms of ad pages, dropping 18.3 percent to 852.33 pages.

Top biz journalism events of the decade

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

The first decade of the 21st century began with business journalists facing criticism for their boosterish coverage of companies during the tech bubble and ended with many of the same reporters facing more criticism for failing to warn consumers about the current economic crisis.

In between, the world of business journalism underwent dramatic changes that make the field only vaguely similar to what it looked like back on Jan. 1, 2000.

Talking Biz News believes the following 10 events — ranked in order of importance — were the most important to business journalism during the past decade. If you’d like to nominate another event, please post a comment.

1. The demise of the daily business section: At the beginning of the decade, standalone business sections in metro newspapers across the country were the primary source of news for those seeking information about business, the markets and the economy. As 2009 closes, they’re now an afterthought. Many of these papers have only themselves to blame — the cutting of printed stock listings and the downsizing of business news staffs have cut the quality and quantity of business news they provide.

2. The biz magazine shakeout: Goodbye Business 2.0, one of the hippest business magazines ever printed. Hello, and goodbye, to Conde Nast Portfolio. So long, Fortune Small Business and BusinessWeek SmallBiz. In addition, Inc., Fast Company and BusinessWeek were sold to new owners, Fortune cut its printed issues by 33 percent and Forbes sold a minority stake of itself. None have been able to find a new formula for success.

3. The rise of Bloomberg News: At the beginning of the decade, Bloomberg was simply another wire service that competed against the AP, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires and the now-defunct Bridge News. Now, it has the largest staff of business journalists anywhere. It owns BusinessWeek magazine, and it’s overhauling its TV operations to compete with CNBC and Fox Business Network. The contest for business news dominance now appears to be a two-horse race between Bloomberg and Dow Jones.

4. Dow Jones sale to News Corp.: Rupert Murdoch added the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Marketwatch.com and Dow Jones Newswires in 2007 to his far-flung media operations. Along with the Fox Business Network, News Corp. now has a presence in delivering business news in every major platform. The Journal has continued to grow its subscription base and has led the pack in requesting consumers pay for business news online.

5. Cable biz news wars: After CNNfn went off the air in 2004, CNBC had the cable business news market to itself for the next three years, until 2007 when the Fox Business Network was launched. Amid criticism that it was too bullish at the beginning of the decade and too defensive of Wall Street at the end of the decade, CNBC continued to dominate business news on TV.

6. Lessons learned: Yes, business journalism was asleep at the wheel in failing to provide adequate coverage of tech, Internet and telecom companies in the first part of the decade. But many biz reporters learned their lesson, and the coverage in the latter part of the decade about the housing bubble and Wall Street problems was much better. And I don’t buy the argument that financial journalism should have warned consumers what was coming; we are not fortune tellers.

7. KHOU-TV’s coverage of bad tires: This was the 2000 coverage of the Firestone problems on Ford Explorers that led to dozens of deaths, and it was a stark reminder that the best business journalism is investigative and questions companies, searching for answers when a company stonewalls. It led to an overall more adversarial approach to business journalism for the rest of the decade.

8. Jon Stewart’s takedown of Jim Cramer: Forget the back and forth between the two combatants here. Simply put, “The Daily Show” hosts montage of bad calls by Cramer put into focus what every serious business journalist knows: You don’t ever predict something, particularly involving investments or money, in print or on the air. Sadly, Cramer’s not the only one who does this.

9. Pulitzer winners abound: From the 2002 win by Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times for her coverage of Wall Street to the 2008 win by Washington Post business columnist Steve Pearlstein and the 2009 win by Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun, the Pulitzer committee recognized that business journalism was prescient and performed its watchdog role.

10. New delivery systems: iPhones and Blackberries now act as a transmitter of The Wall Street Journal and other major business media outlets. Twitter sends headlines of breaking news. Kindles and Sony Readers can do all and more. The newspaper is not dead as a medium of business news, but it now has more competition from a variety of options.

Barron's site goes all-free content for four days beginning Saturday

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Barron’s said Monday that will make its subscription content available to all users for four days beginning this Saturday in conjunction with this weekend’s issue featuring the new section targeting high net-worth individuals.

This is the second issue of PENTA, which targets ‘pentamillionaires,’ individuals with at least $5 million in assets. The Barrons.com open house continues through Tuesday, Dec. 1.

“We continually seek ways for advertisers to reach our extremely high-quality audience as well as avenues to broaden that audience and reach new readers,” said Ed Finn, editor and president of Barron’s, in a statement. “Working with CFA Institute for this Open House is a perfect example of an execution that benefits both the client and the reader, and we look forward to showcasing our content to a new audience.”

Barrons.com currently offers a mix of free and subscriber-only content. The open house will give non-subscribers access to articles from the latest issue of the magazine as well as online exclusives such as
Barron’s Take, exclusive commentary and insights, and investing ideas.