Tag Archives: BusinessWeek
by Chris Roush
The 14 business magazines followed by the Publishers Information Bureau underperformed the magazine industry in the third quarter in terms of advertising revenue and advertising pages.
The business magazines recorded ad revenue of $279.3 million, a decline of 1.7 percent, in the third quarter. The ad pages fell 3.2 percent in the third quarter to 2,570.76.
In comparison, the overall magazine industry reported a 4.0 percent gain in ad revenue for the quarter and a 1.8 percent decline in ad pages.
The best performer among the business titles during the quarter was Barron’s, which had a 33.8 percent increase in ad revenue to $15.7 million and a 29.2 percent increase in ad pages to 296.02.
Another strong performer for the quarter was Inc. magazine, which posted a 23.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $14.8 million and a 22 percent increase in ad pages to 177.9
Among the big three business magazines — Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Fortune — Forbes posted the best performance in the quarter. It had a 2.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $50.5 million and a 1.1 percent decrease in ad pages to 321.1.
In comparison, Businessweek posted a 2 percent increase in ad revenue to $44.4 million and a 1.3 percent decrease in ad pages to 287.84, while Fortune posted a 12.5 percent decline in ad revenue to $46.4 million and a 17.5 percent drop in ad pages to 306.46.
The worst performing business title in the quarter was, once again, Black Enterprise, which reported a 65.3 percent decline in ad revenue to $2.2 million and a 65 percent decline in ad pages to 46.63.
See all of the data here.
by Liz Hester
It’s been five years since the crisis, and the two leading weekly magazines (or the only two left) have vastly different takes on Wall Street and the coverage.
Let’s take a look, starting with the covers.
Time’s cover was of the Wall Street bull on a white background wearing a party hat complete with confetti. The headline reads “How Wall Street Won: Five Years After the Crash, It Could Happen All Over Again.”
By contrast, Bloomberg Businessweek had a dark portrait of Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary, and ran the headline “Five Years From the Brink.” Decidedly darker tone and imagery than the Time cover.
The Time cover story began like this:
Five years on from the financial crisis, the disaster that was Lehman Brothers and its brutal, economy-shredding aftermath can seem a distant memory. We’re out of the Great Recession, and growth is finally back. America’s biggest banks are making record profits. The government is even earning money from its bailouts of institutions like AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Obama Administration, which is pushing hard to complete the new financial rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank reform act deserves credit for making our financial system safe—or that’s the line being tossed around by current and past members of the crisis team.
But amid all the backslapping, a larger truth is being lost. The financialization of the American economy, a process by which we’ve become inexorably embedded in Wall Street, just keeps rolling on. The biggest banks in the country are larger and more powerful than they were before the crisis, and finance is a greater percentage of our economy than ever. For a measure of this, look no further than the Dow Jones industrial average, which just ditched Alcoa, Hewlett-Packard and retail lender Bank of America in favor of the most high-flying investment bank of all, Goldman Sachs.
Given all this, is your money really any safer over the long haul than it was five years ago? And have we restructured our financial industry in a way that will truly limit the chances of another crisis? The answer is still not an unequivocal yes, because banking is as complex and globally intertwined as ever. U.S. financial institutions remain free to gamble billions on risky derivatives around the world. A crisis in Europe, for instance, could still potentially devastate a U.S. institution that made a bad bet—and send shock waves through other key sectors, like the $2.7 trillion held in U.S. money-market funds, much of which is owned by Main Street investors who believe these funds are just as safe as cash.
Although this scenario isn’t necessarily probable—many U.S. banks have reduced risk and increased capital—it is possible. We’re relying on the banks’ good intentions and self-interest, a strategy that didn’t work out so well before. The truth is, Washington did a great job saving the banking system in ’08 and ’09 with swift bailouts that averted even worse damage to the economy. But swayed too much by aggressive bank lobbying, it has done a terrible job of reregulating the financial industry and reconnecting it to the real economy. Here are five things that are still badly needed to reduce the risks for everyone.
It goes on to list the five issues. The first is fixing too-big-too-fail, in part by finally enacting the Volcker Rule. The story also says that the system should limit the leverage for banks, bring derivatives under better scrutiny and regulation, regulate the so-called “shadow banking system,” and change the culture of the financial industry.
My biggest issue with the cover story was the assumptions it made. It assumes that readers know exactly what happened when during the crisis and that they even completely understand what is meant by the term “shadow banking.” I was in the newsroom in 2008 and I’m not totally sure what Time means by the term.
By contrast, Bloomberg Businessweek’s web site had a great interactive timeline outlining the major events of the collapse. The cover story, which was first person by former Treasury Secretary Paulson, started with an anecdote about Dick Fuld, former head of Lehman Brothers:
People weren’t taking Dick Fuld’s calls the weekend before Sept. 15, because Dick had been in denial for a long time. As the CEO of Lehman Brothers, he had asked the New York Fed and the Treasury weeks earlier to put capital into a pool of nonperforming illiquid mortgages that he wanted to put in a subsidiary he called SpinCo and spin off. We had explained that we had no authority to do that. He thought somehow there was something the government could do to help. How could it be that no one would want to buy his company? He just couldn’t believe it.
I was one of the few people speaking with him, and I told him what was happening: We couldn’t find a buyer, and without one, the government was powerless to save Lehman. He was devastated. You would have to be a CEO to really understand what he was going through. He obviously loved the firm—viewed it as his firm—and to have it go down when you’re at the helm, there can’t be much that’s more devastating than that professionally. But the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on Sept. 15 was hardly the end of the crisis. It wasn’t the beginning, either. My goal had never been to go to Washington. My first year at Harvard Business School, 1969, I stopped studying. I was a good enough student that I could get by, so I spent most of my time at Wellesley College with Wendy Judge and persuaded her to marry me before the second year. Wendy got a job teaching swimming in Quantico, Virginia, so I got a job at the Pentagon. The only time I had ever worn a suit was to go to church. The only management experience I had was at a summer camp in Colorado. But, remarkably, I worked on my first bailout in those days.
The comparison is hardly fair. But to trump all of that, Businessweek even made a documentary with an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and a Netflix release featuring Paulson. The time, effort and planning is apparent. Businessweek gets Paulson. Businessweek gets a movie premiere.
Time, well, they’re not even adding information to the debate over the legacy. The win on this one clearly goes to Businessweek for comprehensive, complete and interesting stories with important newsmakers.
by Chris Roush
David Carr of The New York Times writes for Monday’s paper about how Bloomberg Businessweek produced a documentary called “Hank: Five Years From the Brink, ” a new film about the former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. coming out on Thursday, five years after the financial meltdown on Wall Street.
Carr writes, “Mr. Tyrangiel said the deal with Netflix for the film was not indicative of a whole new line of business for Businessweek, but ‘the attention economy is so competitive and an anniversary has a way of focusing the mind.’
“‘By having Hank, who is an authentic guy, look into the camera and tell his story, we brought something significant to the anniversary,’ he added.
“The film’s premiere will be accompanied by an issue of the magazine that focuses exclusively on the anniversary. Daniel L. Doctoroff, the chief executive of Bloomberg, said the film ‘is not going to move the needle on the economics of the magazine, but we had a broader purpose.’ He added, ‘The best way to tell a story is not the way that you have always told it and the film, and the partnership with Netflix, will help broaden our audience with business and financial influencers.’
“In the film, Mr. Paulson acknowledges that some of the fixes, including further consolidation in the banking industry and the growth of government as the primary insurer of mortgages, may sow the seeds of the next crisis, which he sees as ‘unavoidable’ in a free market. But the documentary did give Mr. Paulson the opportunity to strike back at the Wall Street banks that took bailout money, failed to make loans, but paid their leaders huge bonuses.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Jack Dierdorff, who was managing editor of BusinessWeek magazine and worked at the McGraw-Hill publication for 37 years, has died.
Former BusinessWeek editor in chief Stephen Shepard wrote on his Facebook page that Dierdorff died Thursday after a long illness.
“He was a close colleague at Business Week for many years, a committed journalist who cared deeply abut his craft and about the magazine,” said Shepard. ”I last saw him in March, when I spoke at the Coffee House in New York, where he was a long-time member and a regular for lunch.”
After Dierdorff retired from the magazine in 1993, he continued to work, including a stint as a consulting editor for BusinessWeek Online.
It was Dierdorff who in 1987 testified that when McGraw-Hill suspected a leak of the “Inside Wall Street” column, it investigated its security procedures. It directed Donnelley, which printed the magazine, to review its security procedures, and as a result, the plant enhanced those measures.
Dierdorff received the 1992 Elliot Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers’ Association. The award is named in honor of its founding president to an outstanding journalist for a significant long-term contribution to the profession of financial journalism.
by Chris Roush
Joe Weber, the former chief of correspondents at BusinessWeek who now teaches journalism at the University of Nebraska, notes that the covers of Bloomberg Businessweek have an increasingly snarky tone to them.
Weber writes, “The risk for BB is that its drive to be edgy, particularly in its cover imagery, could easily thrust it over a cliff’s edge. It could all too easily slip from provocative to prurient, as it has at times already. Disturbingly, the distance from smart to smartass is not all that great.
“Already, the editors have had to apologize for the art in a cover piece. They ran a smart housing story, only to have its impact undercut by racial insensitivity in the cover art. At best, the drawing seemed goofy anyway.
“BB today, like BW before it, does have to distinguish itself both in its journalism and in the artwork it uses to make its points. And, as my friend from Bloomberg points out, the magazine has been recognized for its design successes by such outfits as Britain’s Design and Art Direction. Apparently, though, what caught the eye of folks at D&AD was one of the more elegant covers, which used a stark and simple photo of Steve Jobs. This seems a case of BB earning recognition for being classy rather than déclassé. That’s something any editor should feel proud of.
“BB has had some impressive successes. It has held onto 4.7 million readers worldwide when so many others have lost the readership battle. It can draw on the work of 2,300 journalists in 72 countries, a couple thousand more journalists and support staffers than BW ever had. If it is to keep up its record of success in readership and influence, the book should work to be known for top-flight economic and business coverage and high-quality artwork that makes the coverage come alive. This is its inheritance, its bloodline. The editors shouldn’t be weighed down by the magazine’s stellar list of alumni and their work as they sort out what to put in the book each week, what imagery to adorn its cover with. But, if they do pause for a second to consider the book’s distinguished history, they might feel a useful nudge in the right direction.
“What do the editors, staffers and art folks want the book to be known for anyway? What do they want their legacy to be? Flout convention, sure. Be provocative. Kick up dust. But do it with style and intelligence. A little grace can carry you a lot farther than an adolescent smirk or an unwelcome dollop of snark.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Bloomberg Businessweek has posted a graphic showing how the cover of this week’s issue on the hedge fund industry evolved during the week.
Here is the graphic:
by Chris Roush
The 13 business magazines underperformed the rest of the industry in the second three months of 2013, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau analyzed by Talking Biz News.
While the industry reported a small gain in ad dollars and a 4.5 percent drop in ad pages for the second quarter, the business magazines posted a 5.2 percent decline in ad dollars and an 11 percent decline in ad pages.
The biggest loser was Black Enterprise, which reported a 74.3 percent decline in ad dollars to $2.1 million and a 73.9 percent drop in ad pages to 44.84.
The best performing business glossy in the second quarter was Inc., which reported a 9.9 percent increase in ad dollars to $17.1 million and a 7.7 percent increase in ad pages to 204.02.
Among the big three business titles — Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Fortune — Fortune was the only one to post a gain in the second quarter. Its ad revenue rose 6.0 percent to $57.5 million, while its ad pages fell less than 1 percent.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 3.1 percent decline in ad revenue to $53.3 million and a 6.4 percent decline in ad pages to 346.87, while Forbes posted an 8.6 percent drop in ad revenue to $73.1 million and a 14.5 percent decline in ad pages to 458.19.
The only other business magazines to post gains in the quarter were Bloomberg Markets and Wired.
Bloomberg Markets posted a 7.3 percent increase in ad dollars to $8.5 million and a 2.6 percent rise in ad pages to 171.51, while Wired posted a 6.1 percent increase in ad dollars to $28.8 million and a 2.5 percent decline in ad pages to 230.29.
Overall, the 13 business titles reported ad revenue of $338.1 million in the second quarter and ad pages of 3022.52.
All of the magazine industry data can be found here.
by Chris Roush
Bloomberg Businessweek announced a new licensing agreement with Modern Media Holdings Limited to publish a traditional Chinese-language edition of the magazine in Hong Kong.
The Bloomberg Businessweek/Chinese edition will be distributed every Wednesday in Hong Kong.
The new edition will feature locally-focused business and financial content from Bloomberg News’ 26 Asian news bureaus and Modern Media Holdings. The magazine will also be available across mobile and tablet platforms.
“We are committed to delivering a great magazine to our readers in Greater China that has engaging stories about who and what will be shaping the local business landscape next,” said Paul Bascobert, president of Bloomberg Businessweek, in a statement. “Modern Media is the right partner for Bloomberg Businessweek/Chinese Edition, as it has demonstrated a keen understanding of the market, and is able to smartly integrate Bloomberg’s reporting with its original content.”
Since Bloomberg LP acquired the magazine from McGraw-Hill at the end of 2009, its individually paid subscribers have increased 37 percent through the end of 2012, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, and ad pages increased 19.5 percent in that same period, as stated by Publishers Information Bureau.
In January 2012, the magazine’s global rate base increased from 900,000 to 980,000 and dedicated regional editions were launched in Europe and Asia. Bloomberg Businessweek’s circulation in Asia doubled over 2012, and according to the BE Asia 2012 survey, 50 percent of Bloomberg Businessweek’s Asia edition are in the executive suite.
by Chris Roush
Michael Sebastian of Advertising Age writes about how Bloomberg Businessweek is getting advertising for its iPhone and iPad applications.
Sebastian writes, “Bloomberg Businessweek offers advertisers several ways to appear on its iPad and iPhone app. The cost of a quarterly sponsorship — which includes a full-page ad, a “brought to you by” logo and various banner ads — is $85,000. IPad advertisers are given certain performance metrics on their ads, such as time spent and content downloads. Microsoft Dynamics and Credit Suisse USA are among the brands to sponsor sections. The magazine plans to offer monthly sponsorships starting in the third quarter of this year.
“‘There’s a certain first-mover status for advertisers on the tablet,’ said Hugh Wiley, publisher, Bloomberg Businessweek. The magazine does not bundle print and iPad ads, meaning advertisers who want to appear in both must pay separately. The open rate for a full-page ad in the weekly’s worldwide edition is $161,600.
“Mr. Wiley said Bloomberg Businessweek does not discount its mobile or iPad ads, because there is limited inventory and high demand. ‘IPad is a big revenue driver for us,’ he said. The publication, which in May had more than 225,000 mobile- and tablet-app subscribers, saw first-quarter ad revenue on the app grow 147% from a year earlier.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Lucia Moses of Adweek reports that younger readers are upset with Bloomberg Businessweek over its recent campaign aimed at them.
Moses writes, “Many of the reactions to the campaign have focused on its insensitivity to the economic challenges facing millennials and the implication that they’re lazy. (Businessweek acknowledges in small type at the bottom of the campaign home page that ‘the woeful state of the economy is not their fault’ and that the intent is ‘not to blame them,’ but that message apparently was overshadowed by the rest of the campaign.)
“‘Imagine being 22, crushed under student loan debt, embarrassed about not being able to find a job or start your adult life and being served a pithy e-card that gleefully announces that your family thinks you’re a failure,’ wrote J. Maureen Henderson on Forbes.com. ‘Now imagine wanting to support the business that came up with the idea for the cards in the first place. That’s just poor marketing strategy on Bloomberg’s part.’
“‘The boomers have dropped a debt laden atom bomb on the millennials and others and for them to comment is offensive to say the least,’ wrote one commentator, Edwin.
“‘There no jobs to get,’ wrote mje. ‘There are three adults to one job open. That is typical for a recessionary period. However, the economy has been expanding for at least 47 months.’
“Others took issue with the implication that Gen Yers are just freeloaders.”
Read more here.