Penny Crossland RBI and Centaur results show B2B future is online
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By Penny Crossland

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Right on cue following Tim Buckley Owen’s recent post on the B2B publishing sector, two of the UK’s largest B2B publishers have announced their interim results. And, true to IRN Research’s predictions, there is some growth in the sector, albeit limited.

Reed Business Information, owners of trade journal stalwarts, such as Farmers Weekly, Estates Gazette and New Scientist, grew revenues by one per cent in the nine months to 30 September this year. This very moderate growth however was not due to any print publications, rather it was its data services group, consisting of Accuity, the AML and compliance solutions tool and Totaljobs – no surprise there - that put in a strong performance.

The company’s other risk management tool LexisNexis Risk Solutions posted a four per cent rise, while LexisNexis Legal & Professional grew by one per cent, proving that compliance workflow tools remain the name of the game in the information world.

Print journal publishing however seems to be going nowhere, proven by Centaur Media’s latest quarterly statement. The publisher of The Lawyer and Marketing Week announced revenues across the group of nine per cent up on the same period last year, with the digital and events divisions showing the most promising growth rates – see a report in journalism.co.uk here. Print publications accounted for just two per cent growth.

Both RBI and Centaur Media have undergone restructuring this year to respond to the decline in print advertising. Centaur closed its long-standing print editions of New Media Age and Design Week and turned them into digital-only publications, while RBI sold off a couple of its well-known titles called Community Care and Computer Weekly.

While it is clear that in their results publishers are mirroring the continuing difficult economic climate, growth can be achieved with astute restructuring and shifting of emphasis towards online journals and data services that serve business customers.

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