Tim Buckley Owen Blogs set to disrupt B2B publishing
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Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Tim Buckley Owen

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Following an extremely tough few years, the tide may be turning for business-to-business (B2B) publishers. But they’re going to have to deal with the growing acceptance of professional blogs. Signs of an upturn in the United Kingdom B2B market are still few and far between says the British consultancy IRN, although advertising spending has started to improve a little in the second half of 2010. United States based Outsell agrees, forecasting improvements in advertising growth rates – although it does expect slow growth in business spending in 2010 and 2011 to hold back both B2B and company information.

Limited opportunities in the UK and wider European markets means that many UK-based B2B information suppliers have focused growth strategies on emerging markets, IRN concludes. Again Outsell’s findings concur: as the Western economies falter, developing countries look stronger and may be ready for a prolonged period of catch-up growth it says.

There’s increasing switching from print to digital, IRN notes, although the share taken by digital channels varies. Most publishers are seeking to build brands across multi-platforms (print, digital, mobile) – and in many cases across various forms of information delivery, such as trade journals, directories and events. ‘Too many publishers and advertisers ignore a cardinal rule: combining print, events and digital beats pure-play digital or just print or just events hands down,’ Outsell agrees. It predicts that declines in print revenue will moderate, but will end with no more losses from 2013. (Purchase details for Outsell’s B2B Trade Publishing & Company Information: 2010 Market Forecast and Trends Report available at http://digbig.com/5bcxtw.

IRN’s UK B2B Information Market 2010 is due out on 10 December – check http://digbig.com/5bcxtx for press release and http://digbig.com/5bcxty for purchase details.) These reports’ findings are confirmed by the actual experience of two major B2B players. In interim statements, Informa and Reed Elsevier report a tough 2010 but expect some improvement next year (Informa statement at http://digbig.com/5bcxwa and Reed at http://digbig.com/5bcxwb or see paidContent:UK coverage at http://digbig.com/5bcxwc).

There’s support for IRN’s and Outsell’s take on the digital/traditional balance too. The recent Business Elite Barometer 2010 from polling organisation Ipsos MORI shows that, while 72% of Europe’s most successful and influential business leaders now regularly obtain media content online, 95% still utilise print on a daily basis (http://digbig.com/5bcxwd).

The joker in the pack where B2B publishing is concerned, though, is professional blogs. ‘Blogs have started to cross the line from “new media” to “standard media”, particularly as more aggregators are licensing them for inclusion in comprehensive products,’ says FreePint’s News Needs and Preferences Survey (purchase details at http://web.freepint.com/go/shop/report/1737). Indeed, so important are they becoming that some aggregators are now actually starting to plug the number of blogs they cover in their sales pitches.

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