B2B, business, professional and trade magazine publishersThis page by Tony Quinn profiles the leading business magazines and B2B publishers, which are otherwise known as:
- business to business;
- trade; and
- business publishers.
While some business magazines are sold in newsagents or bought on subscription, the main distribution channel is controlled circulation, whereby copies are sent free to qualifying individuals and the publisher makes its money through selling advertising. Haymarket sends out 98.26% of the 37,911 copies a week of GP to local doctors as controlled circulation, ensuring it has a focused target market for advertisers.There are exceptions. For example, in the first half of 2012, New Scientist sent out 1,938 copies a week free; sold 38,559 on the news stand; and had 89,845 subscriptions. Across the sector, three-quarters of business magazines' revenue comes from advertising. In 2005, Reed Business Information (RBI) set up rbi-newstrade.co.uk, website that supported independent newsagents selling its 14 business magazines because 'some large retails groups are de-listing high profit, specialist titles'.Trade exhibitions built on mailing lists for magazines are vital sources of revenue for B2B publishers. These exhibitions are also a source of contacts – for readers and advertisers – as well as reinforcing relationships. By 2010, most trade publishers had B2B websites based on the print content, a decade later many of these had turned into pure websites.
The ABC audits about 850 B2B magazines. In total, there are estimated to be about 5,000 trade magazines.
Effect of online media
B2B websites have affected the readership of printed business publications. A survey of 20 UK B2B publishers in May 2005 said all respondents agreed that websites had reduced the usefulness of their magazines. The survey was commissioned by the Association of Online Publishers, which found that 82 per cent of business decision-makers used B2B websites regularly and spent an average of an hour a day using them. However, those same publishers are behind many of the B2B websites. A third of them said that 30 per cent of their business publishing turnover came through online sources. And 61 per cent expected to be in that position within two years. The leading B2B publisher, Reed, has a global strategy based on electronic publishing and has sold titles it cannot exploit online. In 2008, it tried to sell all its print titles, and in April 2017 announced the sale of New Scientist.
B2B publishing information
For more sources, go to Links. Both Mintel and Datassential / Keynote produce reports on business publishing. These cost £300-£900, but may be held by specialist public libraries, such as the City Business Library in London. Summaries are given on the websites. The PPA represents business and professional publishers and organises business media conferences and exhibitions. Member companies include: Centaur, Euromonitor; Emap; Faversham House; Haymarket; Incisive Media; Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining; and William Reed.
Smart Solar, since 2017), software technologies (Transport as a Service, 2018, Digitalisation World, 2015) and micro chips (Silicon Semiconductor, 2017).
Incisive owner Apax and Guardian Media Group. Emap also sold its Media Business Insight division, publisher of BRAD (British Rates and Data), a directory that lists advertising media, including magazines and websites, in 2012, and began to describe itself as a 'business-to-business multiplatform media group'. This is how Emap described itself in late 2017:
- EMAP is a content, subscription and networking business. We connect influential people and organisations to a high-value network of decision-makers, data and ideas through our industry-leading portfolio of brands.
- EMAP's purpose is to drive professional progress for ambitious individuals and companies in Fashion, Architecture, Health and Construction.
- Truck and Plant Locator (W) the company's first magazine, launched in 1996 as Commercial Vehicle Retailer
- Van Buyer Weekly magazine launched in 1998 with www.vanlocator.co.uk website following in 2001
- Commercial Vehicle Dealer (M) for truck and van dealers since 2002 (www.cvdealer.co.uk)
- Plantlocator Weekly (www.plantlocator.co.uk)
- Farm Machinery Locator (fortnightly) launched in August 2013
Incisive had already been active in eight markets: financial risk management, retail investment, insurance, mortgages, capital markets/financial IT, marketing, photography and private equity. Addresses these audiences with magazines, conferences and exhibitions, B2B websites, newsletters, contract publishing titles and databases. Has about 30 magazines run by three divisions and VNU, which it took control of in January 2007:
- Financial services. Titles include Investment Week, Bloomberg Money and Your Mortgage.
- Risk management: Risk, Asia Risk and Basel Alert Insurance & legal services: Post, Insurance Age and Legal Week.
- Marketing / specialist: Search Engine Strategies, Search Engine Watch, Hedge Funds & Investment Technology and British Journal of Photography.
- Incisive Media – VNU Business Publications, such as Computing.co.uk.
Incisive was founded as City Financial Communications in 1994 by Tim Weller to launch Investment Week. Renamed as Incisive Media in July 2000 after buying up Timothy Benn Publishing. Floated on the London Stock Exchange in December 2000, raising £34.7 million. Has since grown through acquisition, buying up mortgage specialist Matching Hat Ltd (2001), finance specialist Risk Waters Group (2003) and US finance data group Waters Information Services, Inc.In October 2006, it was announced that Apax Partners was to buy up the group, delisting it from the stock market. The private equity group took three-quarters of Incisive and other groups, including Ingenious Media Active Capital.
The end of 2017 saw Informa mount a bid to take over rival UBM, a deal worth £5.6 billion that UBM accepted a few weeks later. Informa was at 86 in the FTSE rankings; UBM was 125. With market capitalisations of £5.6bn and £3.4bn, the combined £9bn group would sit at about 53 in the FTSE100, compared with Relx at 35 (£14.8bn).The logic behind the bid was to create the world's largest business-to-business events and conferences group. Both are big in North American operations, while Informa is the bigger in Europe and the Middle East. UBM leads in Asia, a business it had built up since 1994.
Chief executive Stephen Carter estimated Informa would cut costs by £60 million a year. Carter will be chief executive of the combined group of 11,000 employees.Ironically, UBM had tried to buy Informa a decade ago when it was the bigger group. Both companies had their roots in trade magazines, but they had expanded by moving away from publishing in the past 20 years. The extent of change is demonstrated by the fact that 60 per cent of UBM-Informa’s combined annual revenue of £2.6b would come from events.
Among Informa's titles are Lloyd's List, part of the group's business intelligence division, which was created in a London coffee shop in 1734, and the Philosophical Magazine, an academic journal that dates back to 1798. It also owns Taylor and Francis, the academic publisher.
- Mediatel Connected, a display advertising database covering 10,000 publications and 26,000 online channels
- British Rates and Data directory (BRAD), was a monthly subscription publication that now runs online giving advertising information on 12,300 UK media titles
- J-ET, a trading system that claims to handle 90% of all UK national radio advertising
- Newsline bulletins.
- scientific, technical and medical;
- risk and business analytics;
- and exhibitions.
- science and medical published 500 journals and handbooks;
- legal, including the online database LexisNexis;
- education (included Harcourt Education in the US); and
Informa take over UBM, in a deal worth £5.6 billion. UBM dates back to 1918, when it was founded by David Lloyd George, who was still the prime minister. He created United Newspapers by buying the Daily Chronicle and Lloyds Weekly. He sold the business to private investors in 1927. It has three trade magazine divisions:
- PR Newswire, which distributes news stories;
- CMP for technology, healthcare, the built environment, lifestyle, fashion and ingredients media. Run as four regional divisions; and
- Commonwealth Business Media bought by UBM in July 2006 (trade and transport products).
- Accountancy Age weekly tabloid paper;
- Computer Active: fortnightly consumer computer magazine launched in 1988;
- Computing weekly tabloid paper;
- CRN weekly tabloid for corporate computing;
- Financial Director monthly;
- Information World Review monthly;
- IT Week; and
- Personal Computer World, the UK's first consumer specialist computer monthly.
- legal & regulatory training and publications such as Solicitors Journal;
- healthcare: Agence de Presse Médicale and titles such as Healthcare Equipment & Supplies;
- media and entertainment, including the Hollis PR directory and the Production and Casting Report.