McGraw-Hill recently decided to sell Business Week. The buyer is Bloomberg LP but the future of Business Week is in limbo as are the jobs of all that work there. The price has not been disclosed but the value of Business Weeks assets are more than the purchase price. Does Bloomberg LP view the value appropriately?
First Lets Look at Business Week’s History
Business Week is a global source of essential business insight that inspires leaders to turn ideas into action. Through content, context, and collaboration, Business Week moderates global conversations and moves business professionals forward. Founded in 1929 and published by the McGraw-Hill Companies, BusinessWeek magazine is the market leader, with more than 4.7 million readers each week in 140 countries.
BusinessWeek.com (BW.com) was launched on America Online in December 1994, and on the World Wide Web in August 1996. BW.com’s B-Schools Channel won a prestigious National Magazine Award in both 2007 and 2008, for personal service online. BW.com produces much original journalism, with new stories posted multiple times a day, as well as a dozen regular podcasts, 28 staff-written blogs, multimedia slide shows, video reports, and interactive features. BW.com also uses aggregation and Web 2.0 social media to engage its audience in a deep and meaningful way.
Business Exchange. In 2008, BusinessWeek launched the Business Exchange, an innovative online offering that aims to better serve the evolving information needs of business professionals. Delivering to a high-income and highly educated audience, BusinessWeek.com is the preeminent provider of decision-making global business news, information, and services. The site attracts 9.2 million monthly users.
Google’s whole economic value is fueled by the hits economy, traffic. While most of the major media has “gone social“ Business Week has went the extra mile with Business Exchange and its strategic alliance with LinkedIn.
As we can see by the above chart Facebook’s traffic pattern demonstrates the highest rate of change compared to Business Week, Wall Street Journal, Twitter and Business Exchange. Facebook’s market cap is now over $10 Billion, Twitters is over $1 Billion as is LinkedIn. However, the value of traffic alone doesn’t show the economic value of quality traffic. What will the Price be for Business Week?
It will be interesting to see how Bloomberg LP values Business Week. It will be even more interesting to see what they do with it. Could Business Week become the “LinkedIn” of business content by vertical market? Should Bloomberg LP also buy LinkedIn and merge them with Business Week to create LinkedIn Business? Business drives commerce. Commerce is what fuels an economy. Business Week’s traffic is centric to business markets learning what is influencing markets and what innovation is on the horizon.
The qualitative value of Business Weeks traffic represents the economic power that fuels our economy. You can’t say the same for Facebook or Twitter.
Comparing Old Media vs. New Media
Lets look at Business Weeks initiative called Business Exchange, a portal of blogs added to a taxonomy of business subjects. Now look at the charts illustrating the growth of Business Exchange. Do you see the obvious? Statistically speaking the growth rate of change for the Business Exchange represents significant value the quality of the traffic creates. Rate of change is the factor of conversational currency. A bank makes money based in the rate of change in interest using other peoples money. Conversational currency drives a rate of change in interest.
Quality traffic precedes relationships and business transactions follow relationships. Business Exchange has grown exponentially because of the quality of media created by business people discussing business issues and not by useless chatter. The journalist from Business Week and elsewhere are learning from the Business Exchange model. Learning is an attraction that pulls markets. Business markets are where transaction happen. Useless chatter doesn’t create economic transactions.
John Byrne’s, Editor in Chief of Business Week, and his team engineered Business Exchange as well as a strategic relationship with Linkedin. The value of Business Week comes from the quality of thinking provided by leadership, management and the staff that supports the enterprise. The quality of Business Week’s content, both on-line and off-line is what provides markets with insights and knowledge.
The debate over the future of publishing and how to create revenue, besides advertising, continues. Since content is an influence over markets maybe a new model will emerge which monetizes information, influence, ideas, talent and conversations. The actions taken by an audience as a result of content that is in context to their wants and needs creates value for a marketplace of consumption. The value of content consumption has yet been quantified, qualified or monetized.
The future of Business Week will defined by the people who lead and manage the “social capital” created by what Business Week has done in the past. Innovation that creates a new economic model for content consumption will likely come from the markets that consume it and the people who manage it. Business Week has the right market, the quality traffic and the right people who can lead it to the next generation. Lets hope that Bloomberg LP sees and understands that it’s the people who create the value. Time will tell.
What’s your opinion?