McGraw-Hill has begun “exploring strategic options for BusinessWeek,” a brand that debuted in 1929. Print ad pages at BusinessWeek and competitors Forbes and Fortune began plummeting after the dot-com bust. In 2000, BusinessWeek sold 6,005 print ad pages; in 2008 it was down to 1,882, only 31% of that number, and down 37% again this year over the same period last year. Print ad revenue collapsed alongside ad pages count; 2008 revenue is estimated reach only 41% of 2000 revenue, and observers estimate losses in 2008 were $75 million and $20 million already this year. The print ad page decline at BusinessWeek is similar to the plunge at its longtime competitors, Forbes and Fortune. Forbes’ pages dropped 30.2% in the first half of this year, while Fortune’s fell 38.2%.

Outsell’s lead analyst Chuck Richard commented in his recent Outsell Insight (July 24th, 2009): No one can be surprised that McGraw-Hill is no longer willing to subsidize any more $75 million losses. This is the tangible sign of the withering away of the “news weekly” as a product: it is a broken pairing, a mis-match of medium (print and online “digest of the week that passed”) with today’s users’ expectation of news (instant, not a week old).  Source: Outsell Inc.

BIIA Newsletter September 2009 Issue