SPECIAL REPORT: Your Guide to the 2008 Media ‘Brandscape’
Most people don’t use the phrase “sea change” lightly, but that’s exactly what comes to Gordon Hughes’ mind when he describes an important, recent shift in the business-to-
The CEO of industry association American Business Media (ABM) is referring to the significance of 2006 numbers that showed that revenue from events surpassed that of magazines for the first time ever. While rooted in the recent economic downturn of the early 2000s, which hit print media harder than trade shows, the ascendancy of events is indicative of much larger trends in the publishing world.
“It’s really not primarily about magazines any longer,” Hughes says flatly. “Even a few years ago, we were saying that magazines really constituted brands. Today, it’s more of what I would call a ‘brandscape,’ like a landscape. The reason I say that is that the cost of trade entry for trade shows and digital play is so much less than starting magazines. We’re seeing brands pop up now, not based on magazines, but based on content.”
Content. For some in the industry, the word may function almost as a euphemism, conjuring up fears of old-line editorial excellence going the way of the dot-matrix printer, as publishers seek to establish themselves quickly in as many venues as possible. Not so, Hughes stresses. In fact, as the dust begins to settle on the new, multiplatform media landscape—or “brandscape”—at the outset of 2008, there seems to be a new appreciation for the importance of quality as a means to strengthen and sustain a brand.
What Do the Numbers Show?
While final ABM member statistics for 2007 are not yet available, Hughes expects revenue from events to have grown about 8 percent last year, to around $11.3 billion. Magazines are expected to show a 4-percent drop, to $10.8 billion, with digital content growing around 20 percent, to $4.3 billion.