OLD Media Moves

European and Asian editions of BusinessWeek bite the dust

December 7, 2005

BusinessWeek, the largest business magazine published in the world, is cutting back. The New York-based magazine, which got a new editor earlier this year, announced that it was cutting its European and Asian editions at the end of the year. It will keep its overseas bureaus, but now the focus will be on providing specialized content online for readers in these areas. I saw one report on this that there would be some layoffs.

Business Week has a circulation of 980,000. Its international edition sells another 190,000 copies.

Here is the text of the press release:

BusinessWeek Announces Repositioning in Global Markets
Wednesday December 7, 9:28 am ET
– Single Global Print Edition and a Focus on Online and Local Language Editions –

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — In order to most effectively meet current business and customer needs and to strengthen the franchise for future growth, BusinessWeek announced today that it will reposition its approach to global markets. A greater emphasis will be placed on providing online news, analysis and information and on developing local language publications while maintaining a single flagship print product.

“We have decided to create robust, customized Asian and European versions of our popular BusinessWeek Online Web site, while delivering a single global edition of BusinessWeek magazine instead of providing separate regional versions,” said Stephen J. Adler, Editor-in-Chief of BusinessWeek. “We are taking this action to harness the growing power of the Web globally and to serve readers and advertisers in a more timely, efficient, and targeted way.”

“BusinessWeek is dedicated to maintaining a strong international presence and we see a great deal of opportunity for our business,” said William P. Kupper Jr., President, BusinessWeek Group. “The enormous growth we have seen in Online suggests a great opportunity for BusinessWeek. By aligning our resources more strategically to those areas where we see the greatest demand, we can enhance BusinessWeek’s growth prospects and expand our international presence in key markets.”

* A single global edition of the print magazine will now serve readers and
advertisers across North America, Europe, Asia, and other global
markets. BusinessWeek will keep its network of international bureaus to
maintain the breadth of its news coverage but will discontinue the
European and Asian editions as of December 30.

* BusinessWeek will bolster its online coverage of global markets to
provide more robust and timely news and information to its growing
international online audience. Customized online editions for Europe
and Asia will be created as well as vertical content areas such as
business education, design and innovation, and small business.
International visitors to BusinessWeek Online have nearly doubled in the
past year and today represent approximately 25% of BusinessWeek Online’s
site visitors.

* BusinessWeek will continue developing regional partnerships to expand
local language editions in key markets around the world. Demand for
local language editions is strong. Currently, BusinessWeek publishes in
the following countries: China, Poland, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey.
The Arabic edition just launched in October 2005 and the Bulgarian and
Romanian editions are scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2006.”

As a former BusinessWeek staff member, I can only imagine what some of the people in the international bureaus are thinking right now. I would not be perceiving this as good news if I were in their shoes. The expansion of BusinessWeek into various editions across the globe was part of former editor Steve Shepard’s focus while at the helm for 20 years and part of the strategy to make BW the ubiquitous source for business news. What happens to all of that content that was in these overseas print editions? I’m guessing that putting it online doesn’t give it the same amount of readership.

What I also find interesting is that McGraw-Hill, the parent company, was selling subscriptions to European Businessweek for $55/year and in Asia at $90/year when the price for a U.S. subscription is $45.97/year. See price list here. Maybe the folks in marketing needed to reassess the pricing structure?

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