[LINK] publishing & web & tv convergence
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Aug 18 21:15:16 EST 2008
Topic Pages to Be Hub of New BusinessWeek Site
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
www.nytimes.com August 17, 2008
With advertising revenue sliding, publications try a lot of things online
to get noticed, like pardon the jargon verticals, aggregation, user-
generated content, popularity rankings and even something resembling
BusinessWeek magazine is about to introduce a site that combines some
elements of all of the above in ways intended to capture new readers and
funnel them into niches that will attract advertisers.
The site, called Business Exchange, is one approach to the fast-evolving
digital world, where some news sites that experiment have rapidly expanded
their audiences while those that do little more than post articles online
have been left in the dust. After two years of quiet development, it will
go public in late September, accessible through BusinessWeeks own Web
The core of Business Exchange is hundreds of topic pages, on subjects as
broad as the housing market and as narrow as the Boeing 787. Plans call
for the number of topic pages to grow quickly into the thousands. (The
first one created, which may or may not be in the public version of
Business Exchange, was BlackBerry vs iPhone.)
A few other magazines and newspapers have also become serious about
building verticals, but they tend to jealously guard control of their
online audiences and content. Not this one.
Each Business Exchange topic page links to articles and blog posts from
myriad other sources, including BusinessWeeks competitors, with the
contents updated automatically by a Web crawler. Nearly all traditional
news organizations offer only their own material, spurning the role of
aggregator as an invitation to readers to leave their sites.
On Business Exchange, a user can post new material to a topic page, or
even create a new page, choosing the subject and the title, and write a
brief introductory description. This is hardly a revolutionary idea in the
wiki era, but for a mainstream publication, it represents a significant
loosening of control. (But not too loose new topics require editorial
approval, promised within 24 hours, and objectionable posts will be taken
As journalists, were good at finding great sources of information and
distinguishing whats important, but we also want to harness the very
significant capabilities of our community, said Stephen J. Adler, editor
in chief of BusinessWeek, which is published by the McGraw-Hill
Companies. It only takes a very small percentage of people being active
in a topic for it to be really vibrant and valuable for everybody else.
The site also works as a kind of social network, letting friends,
colleagues and rivals track one anothers interests or, say, Warren
Buffetts interests, if he chooses to play along.
Each user has a profile (photo optional) that contains a personal
description and tracks the users reading and posting habits. It allows
the reader to create a network among other readers, and to import
information from a LinkedIn account.
The user can also choose to make the profile public, with all of that
information visible to anyone on the site.
Through the topic pages and profiles, BusinessWeek hopes to be able to
deliver narrowly focused audiences to narrowly focused advertisers, and
even let the advertisers know who those readers are.
Advertisers want you to prove engagement, said Keith Fox, president of
BusinessWeek. Ordinary social media are too broad to draw ads, but we can
sell display ads reaching a specific audience on electronics or cars or
BusinessWeek wants to stand out in a crowded lineup of news sources on
businesses, financial markets, the economy, and personal finance and
In print, BusinessWeek has a circulation of about 900,000, similar to
Forbes and Fortune, which publish half as often. (The other top-selling
financial magazines, like Money, Kiplingers Personal Finance, Smart
Money, Fast Company and Inc., do not compete as directly. They are all
monthlies, some focus primarily on personal finance, and they tend to have
fewer ads or online readers.)
In both print ad sales and online traffic, BusinessWeek ranks far ahead of
most other financial magazines, but lags behind its closest competitors.
Its Web site draws more than three million unique visitors monthly,
according to Nielsen Online, a healthy figure, but Forbes.com gets more
than eight million. No directly comparable figure is available for Forbes,
whose online presence is contained within Time Warners CNNMoney site,
with more than nine million monthly users.
In the first six months of 2008, BusinessWeek had more than 900 ad pages,
according to the Magazine Publishers Association, while Fortune had more
than 1,100 and Forbes more than 1,300. Though print sales have held
steady, financial magazines have lost more than 20 percent of their print
ad volume in the last four years, and BusinessWeeks advertising has
fallen even faster.
Roger W. Neal, senior vice president and general manager of BusinessWeek
Digital, said that as Business Exchange pages work their way up through
search engine results, the site should double BusinessWeeks traffic on
the Web within two years, allowing it to sell more ads.
Increasingly the ad buy in our sector is going to that top tranche of
players, he said, so we want to get dramatically bigger.
Message sent using MelbPC WebMail Server
More information about the Link