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Business Mag Dynamics October 12, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

This story in the Journal, on the travails of business magazines, made me think, and it raised some intriguing questions. The story characterizes Conde Nast’s new Portfolio as a rising winner, compared with traditional competitors Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Fortune. The analysis is largely based on Porfolio looking fat (though possibly discounting) and the others’ ad linage shrinking. Yet it also points out that Fortune and Forbes have pretty successful Web sites, which may be the future for classic biz mag advertisers like tech and financial services, if not biz mags’ third leg of the stool, luxury goods.

Portfolio’s website is a non-starter so far. But its Conde Nast connections could be hurting Fortune on the luxe sales front. And where does that leave BusinessWeek, the pub most dependent on news? I’ve seen BusinessWeek building out some Internet-perfect content, like databases of business school info, but it really does feel vulnerable to the much bigger portal-affiliated competition that blends news gathering with personal finance tools.

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