Tag Archives: BusinessWeek

Business Models

Business models and business journalism

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The second panel discussion at Talking Biz News’ conference at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York invited those on the business end of journalism to talk about the model for making money and what the future may bring.

The discussion touched on a variety of topics including pay walls for web sites, sponsored content, the decline of advertising dollars and how organizations may choose to brand their content.

Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs at the Columbia University School of Journalism and former managing editor at WSJ.com, mentioned that some pay walls have had more success than others. Models, like that of the New York Times, were a certain amount of content is free, then you have to pay seems to be working better. Grueskin mentioned the Dallas Morning News’ recent decision to take down its pay wall completely after losing customers.

Most panelists agreed that people would pay for quality, original content and that’s being demonstrated at publications of all sizes. At American City Business Journals, group publisher and executive vice president Rob Fisher said it was exploring ways to get those who subscribe to its print publications, those who pay for emailed content and people who attend events to pay a bit more or to purchase additional products.

Much of his revenue model, which is driven by local journalism, comes from non-journalism sources such as events as well as people paying for premium access or other items. They charge for reprints, links, the use of PDFs and other low cost, higher margin items.

Another force that publishers will have to content with is the rise in competition from journalism nonprofits, foundations, and privately funded organizations, said Steve Shepard, founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and former editor of BusinessWeek.

“What’s heartening to me is the rise of parallel universe in biz journalism,” he said. He mentioned that CUNY would begin a new program in the fall funding journalists who want to do long-form, investigative pieces. They would differ from other nonprofits in that they wouldn’t have their own staff, but seek out reporters with good ideas who needed funding to get them done.

Another disruptive change in the journalism business model is that people are looking for sites to find, organize and aggregate the best content for them, said Ranjan Roy, cofounder of Informerly.com, which is focused on delivering e-commerce news to global professionals. He also mentioned the rise of sponsored content, arguing that readers are accepting of content that doesn’t interrupt their reading.

“The opportunity in sponsored content is about generating an experience that doesn’t interrupt your reader and is as good as your original stories,” Roy said. He mentioned the advent of Facebook and Twitter sponsored posts, which are delivered in the same manner as regular social media.

Elisabeth DeMarse, chief executive officer of TheStreet.com, said that video was another area of opportunity for all sites, including sponsored content. She cited an example of a company sponsoring a video interview with one of their experts as a good example of this type of content. DeMarse, along with many others, are investing in video technology in the newsroom in order to more quickly produce this content on breaking news story.

Shepard urged organizations to have guidelines around sponsored content including how to label it clearly and what to call it. He was dismayed by some outlets calling this content sponsored journalism and said the industry needed to create professional guidelines.

Much of the future of journalism will depend on those on the business side making money. Panelists agreed the model differed for various publications, but that it would involve some type of non-advertising revenue.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek hires deputy editor for Etc.

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Matthew Lynch of Capital New York reports Thursday that Kurt Soller has been hired as the deputy editor of the Etc. section in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Pompeo writes, “Soller will join Businessweek from New York magazine’s women’s-interest standalone web portal, The Cut, where he worked as a features editor. He will report to ‘Etc.’ editor Emma Rosenblum, who oversaw the section’s relaunch in May.

“Herself a veteran of New York and, more recently, Glamour, Rosenblum has further moved the back-of-book section away from its earliest iteration, which often featured tales of the wacky super-rich, toward more workaday fare. The Oct. 7 issue featured guides to both pocket squares and hard ciders.

“A fashion-week regular whose distinct bespectacled visage is favorite of street-style photographers, Soller starts Nov. 11.

“‘We’re thrilled to have Kurt join the Etc. team. He’s a talented writer and editor whose work we’ve admired at the Cut,’ said Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel in statement relayed through a spokeswoman. ‘He really understands print, digital, and mobile, and from what we can tell he dresses pretty well, too, which should come in handy for our fashion coverage. We’re really excited to welcome him to Bloomberg Businessweek.’”

Read more here.

Barrons

Biz magazines underperform industry in third quarter

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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.

TIME Cover - How Wall Street Won

Five years later: Time versus Businessweek

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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.

Bloomberg Businessweek PaulsonBy 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.

Hank Five Years from the Brink

Bloomberg Businessweek turns to film for “Hank”

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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.

1984 BusinessWeek

Former BusinessWeek managing editor Dierdorff dies

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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.

BusinessWeek covers

Is Bloomberg Businessweek smart, or a smart ass?

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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.

Businessweek hedge funds

How the Bloomberg Businessweek cover was made

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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:

covertrail29a

black-enterprise-magazine-s

Biz magazines underperformed industry in second quarter

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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.

BusinessWeek China

Bloomberg Businessweek to publish Hong Kong edition

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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.