Not A Bad Trade

A few years ago, b2b publishers were snapping up all the titles they could get in order to create large publishing behemoths. Now, many of those big publishers have shuttered underperforming titles and split off the rest of their assets into smaller, more niche publishers, often led by the former employees of the big companies.

The question becomes, then, how are these small publishers doing?

Brian Ceraolo, formerly a group publisher at Reed Business Information, purchased the magazines he’d been running for Reed in April 2010. And circulation is stable; web traffic is running at 75 percent of pre-split levels. Costs, in fact, are down: “Between allocations for shared services such as marketing, IT and production, I counted about 20 salaries that we were paying to Reed, when we really only needed about four or five people,” Ceraolo told Folio. “Now, we have everyone under one umbrella, working towards one goal, and they all know the industries and markets—which makes everybody more productive. And, as a smaller company, we have complete control over what we want to do with our business.”

CFE Media was another RBI offshoot, when Steve Rourke purchased Control Engineering, Plant Engineering and Consulting-Specifying Engineer from RBI in April 2010. At this company, there are no job titles—staffers were asked “to do whatever was necessary to support the audience, customers and the overall business,” Folio says.

SGC Horizon runs 13 ex-Reed construction titles. Revenue there is “significantly ahead” of 2010 levels while online revenues are up more than a third. In fact, shutting down those magazines was a “strategic error,” says Ed Gillette, who partnered with ex-RBI employees Tony Mancini and Rick Blesi to make SGC Horizon.

Finally, Editor & Publisher’s rebirth under Duncan McIntosh is covered. There’s very little before/after discussion of traffic, ad pages, etc, but McIntosh says that “Editor & Publisher was profitable in 2010 and continues to be so today.”