Web Publishing Roll Up: Staying Afloat Online, Barely

3 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar
These days many in the publishing are just trying to stay afloat from one week to the next. This week is no exception.

Mergers and Layoffs, Oh My!

Mergers are inevitable. Layoffs are imminent. Magazines are under pressure to capitalize on the power of the Web to help them from going under:* Forbes Media is merging it's business magazine and its online component. An internal memo sent by CEO Steve Forbes to staff said that print and online sales and marketing will be immediately integrated, aiming to be sufficiently combined by early 2009. * Condé Nast laid off more than three dozen online staffers from its CondéNet division, which oversees its popular "destination" Web sites like Epicurious.com and Style.com. As for why the Web site is being punished for the magazine's woes, Condé Nast reported that despite its web presence it "is first and foremost a magazine company." Hmmm...I wonder how long that mantra will last. * PC Magazine will issue its last print edition this January, thereafter becoming an online-only publication. PC Magazine will become PCMag, part of a network of sites called the PCMag Digital Network. Forcing the PC world online, finally.

Woeful Economy Sucks In the Web

Although much less effected by our world's economic demise, the Web publishing industry struggles nonetheless: * The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) released its quarterly numbers for the industry in September — and for the first time since the association started tracking and breaking out online ad revenue five years ago, the category dipped into negative territory.

Declining results are "primarily tied to classifieds and the dramatic drop in classifieds overall, and newspapers' reliance on classified dollars to drive online" says Randy Bennett, the NAA's senior vice president of business development. There are two forces at play: when print ad revenue drops off a cliff, so does online classified revenue when it's tied to the former, and classifieds, even those sold only on the Web, are subject to the woes of the economy no matter where the listing appears. The Internet offers no more protection than print.* Despite fourth-quarter advertising cutbacks, online video ad prices in the sluggish economy appear to be holding steady so far. However, media agency executives expect this sector of the "Internet advertising ecosystem" to suffer price decreases early next year, as nearly all ad prices drop. It is expected that more advertisers will enter the online video market in the coming months. As well, marketers likely will shift away from less accountable mediums and into more targeted ones, like Web video.Sit tight, web world.Don't rest on your laurels; instead invest your time and your money.