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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gossip from RBI and More Death Notices for B2B Publising

For those interested in the musings, occasional paranoia and insider insights into what its like at RBI right now, this blog, written rather bravely I should have thought, by a UK employee covers all the bases.

One of his posts considers whether Reed missed an opportunity in online advertising. With all their resources why did they need to do a deal with 24/7 in an ad network? Why couldn't RBI have been the inventor of double click. It was forgiveable to miss the search phenomenon as thats not Reeds core business, but the blogger argues, advertsing is.

Keep an eye on this blog if only because its an insider with a brain thinking about what might happen.

He does raise the killer question of course. If a company with the resources and brains of Reed don't think there is any future in b2b publishing, what hope is there for the rest of them.

Paul Conley lists the recent "slew of bad news" coming out of the US business media houses and his analysis is about as gloomy as it gets. The only gloomier outlook is the one we will have in six months time when the economy is in a worse state, business media profits have shrunk further and still no one has worked out what the future might be.

Too many pubilshers are analysing trends and trying to work out where the market is going and then dreaming up some ways of how to follow it. I'll tell you something guys - the future is twhat you determine it to be. In short innovation not replication.

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At 1:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have also posted to this another blog that is down on RBI...

I have to say I am surprised at these negative comments about RBI. This year has started more positively than any I can remember in my long time at RBI. We are` recruiting more than ever, our online products are going from strength to strength, revenues are growing and the mood is very positive.

I can only imagine any negativity is coming from those unwilling or probably unable to embrace change.

RBI has moved positively over the last 4 years to position themselves in the "online space" whilst putting just as much focus on the magazines as ever before.

We can't deny the publishing world is changing and to do so would be very naive and no doubt lead to huge problems for RBI and its counterparts.

We cant change the fact that RBI is being sold off so instead of moaning lets just make sure we are in the best possible shape for future suitors! Who knows it may be better under new I said; who knows!!!

At 3:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be right but Reed Elsevier clearly don't agree otherwise why sell.

It may or may not be better under new owners. Its the uncertainty that drives the paranoia. If the troops can see it as exciting and new, then there is all to play for.

However if RBI really is recruiting more than ever as a downturn approaches in a perfect storm of "recession", credit crunch,and a paradigm shift in print media, thats placing hope of growth over experience in the pain of every past downturn.

At 5:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brave words.

But the reality of the situation is that any buyer of RBI will be a VC firm. Anybody know any VCs that believe in organic growth? Didn't think so. Now, does anyone know of any VCs that believe growth means trimming costs? Yeah, I thought so.

If RBI had decent looking web properties across the board, they might be attractive -- but my guess is that whoever buys RBI will want to dump a lot of properties. That strategy will work because there is a lot of VC money sitting on the sidelines right now ready to buy properties . . . which they will then reduce costs on.

Where I work we have less than one editor per magazine, and less than one publisher per four or five magazines, most of the reps are independents, and all the circulation qualifying is outsourced. One day one employee will be considered one too many.


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