Monday, May 02, 2005

The boss doesn't like you, but loves the ad guy

I just read a story in Folio based on a survey of the chief executives of B2B media companies. I found the article sort of disconcerting, although I think it's meant to be optimistic.
The problem...I think...is that I'm just not on the same page as the people surveyed. I find this to be an incredibly exciting time in journalism, particularly in B2B journalism. But the article doesn't mention a single one of the remarkable things that are happening in this game. There's no mention of blogs, no discussion of podcasting, no indications of changes in ad-tracking technology, no arguments about post-objectivity, no conversation about the risks to print products in a multimedia era, etc.
The CEOs do predict a rise in advertising revenue. And certainly that is good news. But the predictions are perhaps too optimistic -- 42% of those surveyed say they expect double-digit revenue growth! And these feel-good forecasts seem to be based on nothing more than feel-good hopefulness. "Asked to identify their sources of new revenue for 2005, 75 percent of respondents said revenue would come from new print advertisers, while 60 percent cited existing print advertisers," according to Folio.
Now as any talented B2B journalist would recognize, that sentence requires a few follow-up questions. If your existing customers are willing to pay more for your products, why haven't you increased your rates already? If there are new, untapped customers available, why have you failed to do business with them to this point?
And therein lies the problem, for the survey also indicates that the CEOs don't much care about talented B2B journalists. "The only priorities that significantly declined from 2004 to 2005 were editorial integrity and staff stability," according to Folio.

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