Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Vance buys Doane, expands into ag radio

I guess I got this one wrong.
I've been predicting for awhile now that Vance Publishing, where I was once a senior writer, would be sold to fellow Kansas City-based B2B publisher Ascend Media. But now comes word that Vance has acquired Doane Agricultural Services of St. Louis. The purchase doesn't mean that Vance won't be sold, but it sure doesn't make it more likely.
The Doane deal is an interesting one for Vance -- expanding the company's offerings from B2B publications into commodities analysis and advice. In addition, Vance picks up a radio program in the deal -- AgriTalk, a daily program broadcast through 74 affiliate stations.
I wish my friends at Vance well. Agriculture may be the most competitive space in today's B2B media world. I'm a fan of the changes at and I love such non-traditional publishers as agwired. And I've said before that agriculture seems particularly well-suited to coverage by standalone journalists (take a look at just such a site by Matt Mullen, a regular contributor to this blog.)
The Doane deal may prove to be a first step in exactly the sort of expansion beyond traditional publishing that Vance needs in this new environment. Most importantly, the deal gives Vance its first true multimedia holding -- pushing it into the big leagues of ag journalism alongside Farm Journal and DTN.

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  1. An interesting move for Vance; earlier this summer they sold a few of their ag vertical magazines—Peanut Grower, Cotton Farming and Rice Farming—to One Grower Publishing, LLC, a company formed by a farmer and banker when he bought the publications. I believe you commented on this earlier, Paul.

    And here’s another thing that’s interesting. Vance also, I would presume, would acquire the market research services of Doane with this purchase. Doane had a partnership with XSInc and have developed the first point-of-sale data collection system for the agricultural industry. Something very different than a b2b publication.

    Full disclosure: I was contracted to write the copy for XSInc’s Web site and I’m currently the editor of Peanut Farm Quarterly magazine, a competitor of Peanut Grower.

  2. Also to clarify a point in your post, Paul, I'm not a standalone journalist. I do the agbiotech blog on the side just because I think it's interesting.

    I'm quite happily employed by Speccomm International, Inc., which is the best company in the world.

  3. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the comments, the clarification and the info on Vance and Doane.

  4. Have to be wary here. There are two(2) "Doane" groups from the St Louis area.

    Vance acquired the assets of Doane AgProfessional, not DoaneMR.

    DoaneMR is the group that has contact and a recently announced jv with XS.

    Especially interesting to me for a group like Vance, that claims to be a leader in B-2-B....

    There have been absolutely no changes to the recent site or to the site.

    From the website you can review the November 3rd AgTalk interview with the recently overhauled Vance group.

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for the info.