The UK’s business magazine market is set for a major boom with the
number of publications expected to grow by 29 per cent to 680 titles by
2001, according to a new report from the Periodical Publishers
While the rate of growth marks a slow down from the 48 per cent
witnessed over the past five years, it far outstrips the 20 per cent
growth for consumer magazines since 1991.
The PPA ‘Media Convergence and the Business Press’ a survey of 34 UK
business publishers, shows that, far from abandoning paper in favour of
Internet sites, magazines will continue to be publishers’ core products
for some time.
The growth in the sector is expected to come from the launch of more
tightly targeted magazines across all sectors. The IT and computing
sectors, which have seen the greatest increase in launch activity over
recent years, are both expected to continue to see strong competition.
As well as increasing the number of titles available, the business
publishing market is also set to see a major increase in activity in
areas related to core titles. The number of business directories is
expected to grow by more than 55 per cent during the next five years to
around 235 directories.
Meanwhile, the number of business magazine publishers producing
electronic products rose to 48 per cent over the past five years and is
forecast to reach 64 per cent by 2001. CD-ROMs are expected to account
for the largest chunk of electronic publishing despite current forays
into launching Internet sites.
The number of exhibitions, as brand extensions to core magazine brands,
rose by 76 per cent between 1991 and 1996 and is set to grow by 48 per
cent by 2001. EMAP Business Communications, publisher of Retail Week and
Shop Equipment News, has announced that it is launching Retail 97, a new
exhibition, despite the fact that it already operates the International
Spring and Autumn Fairs and the Retail Solution Exhibition.
But can the market sustain so many magazines? And do people really have
the time to read them as well as visiting conferences and exhibitions?
The PPA’s deputy chief executive Peter Dear says yes.
‘Business is becoming more specialised and therefore there are more
opportunities for dedicated titles for the business-to-business arena,’
he says. ‘We will see further spin-offs from existing titles and,
because the industry is driven from the bottom too, we will see new
titles. We are going to see fresh ground in all areas.’
The PPA report ‘Power of Business Magazines’ supports this view. The
survey of 1000 business people across 20 sectors found that the average
number of titles read by decision makers across all sectors was 3.7.
Nearly all - 95 per cent - of respondents regularly read at least one
business magazine specific to their industry.
National newspapers were the second source regularly used, (59 per cent)
closely followed by direct mail (55 per cent) and conferences and
exhibitions (54 per cent).
General business magazines such as Business Age and Management Today,
scored poorly (36 per cent), falling behind the regional press (39 per
cent). However, as the convergence between traditional media and
electronic media progresses, business publishers will not only be
competing with each other but with companies such as Microsoft or
‘The key issue for business publishers is what the shape of business
publishing is going to be, given that there are all these new electronic
opportunities,’ says Dear. ‘At the moment business magazines have the
high ground because they own the content and brands in each sector, but
the future is full of challenges and opportunities.’