IDG Publishing Division Enters Custom Market

Boston-Based Companies at Forefront of Fast-Growing Segment
BOSTON–CIO Communications has entered the red-hot custom publishing field, naming Ellen Romanow vice president and general manager of its startup contract division.
Romanow spent the last two years overseeing similar efforts at Cahners Publishing in Newton, Mass., where she worked on magazines for Digital Equipment, among others. Barbara Baxter now oversees Cahners’ custom publishing contracts.
At CIO in Framingham, Mass., a unit of International Data Group, Romanow plans to develop vehicles for high-tech companies, drawing mainly on CIO advertisers as sponsors.
Industry executives agree: The custom publishing field, which uses the tools of traditional journalism to create highly targeted marketing vehicles to build customer relationships and bolster brand images, is experiencing explosive growth rates.
The market overall may generate more than $1 billion in sales this year and has nearly doubled in size over the past few years, said a representative of the Custom Publishing Council, a recently formed group operating under the aegis of the Magazine Publishers of America in New York.
The Boston area– home to such large independents as Cadmus Custom Publishing and Custom Communications International, as well as contract divisions at established magazine publishers–is at the forefront.
“It’s an emerging industry. It has nowhere to go but up,” said Diana Pohly, president of Boston-based Cadmus, which creates 12 specialty publications for clients such as Continental Airlines and Sotheby’s International Realty. Cadmus projects 25 percent growth in each of the next three years, Pohly said.
“It’s the fastest- growing segment of the publishing industry today,” agreed John Caldwell, president of Custom Communications in Boston, which produces nine titles for clients including Fidelity Investment and IBM. Sales at Custom Communications are up 40 percent in the past year, Caldwell said.