BusinessWeek’s global realignment

BusinessWeek’s decision to drop their European and Asian print editions while newsworthy, is not surprising, imho, since they’ve demonstrated over the course of this year their responsiveness to the changes taking place in global media and technology. One could, not quite tongue in cheek, say that they are leading the mainstream media giants in innovation, nimbleness and redesign of business strategy.

Steven Baker posts a link to this press release today,

In order to most effectively meet current business and customer needs and to strengthen the franchise for future growth, BusinessWeek announced today that it will reposition its approach to global markets. […]

"We have decided to create robust, customized Asian and European versions of our popular BusinessWeek Online Web site, while delivering a single global edition of BusinessWeek magazine instead of providing separate regional versions," said Stephen J. Adler, Editor-in-Chief of BusinessWeek. "We are taking this action to harness the growing power of the Web globally and to serve readers and advertisers in a more timely, efficient, and targeted way."

I’ve been tracking the changes at BusinessWeek since July 2005, and I’ve italicized some key points from their press release above. Before I go on to add my 2 rupees, however, I’d like to highlight some other facts that I’ve noted on the changes taking place in mainstream media. From Chris Anderson’s Long Tail post titled "Mainstream media meltdown II" are these datapoints from early November 2005,

While Steven naturally comments that it is "a difficult day" at BW, I’m far more impressed and optimistic of their future, and the articulation of their vision. As Chris Anderson’s statistics demonstrate, the reading public or the "info gatherers" turn to the web first as their primary source for news and information. This is not news, and many others, far better than I have articulated these shifts.

What is interesting however is BW’s response. Perhaps the first leading publication to embrace the changes and incorporate them into their corporate strategy for the future, BW demonstrates their willingness to implement what they preach to their readers. Note the phrases I’ve italicized from their press release,

"meet business and customer needs",

"strengthen their franchise for future growth",

"resposition it’s approach to global markets"

A user centric response to corporate strategy within the context of the growing importance of the blogosphere, citizen journalism, global interconnectedness and immediacy of information? I would certainly have to say so. As corporations spread their influence across the various regions of the world, it actually makes far more sense for BW to have ONE print edition, a global one, that serves all markets, and in doing that, underscores the "flat world" theory of business. This move supports what they’ve been seeing all along, that business isn’t seperated into "Europe", "Asia" and "N.America" anymore, and that little butterfly flapping it’s wing over Taiwan could have a very relevant impact on the air currents over the Caribbean – to mangle a favorite metaphor.

Add to that their initiatives in the blogosphere over the course of this year, and compare their approach to the recent furor by Forbes regarding "attack of the giant bloggers". I’d lay my bet on BusinessWeek as a pioneer for exploring and developing new business models amongst the denizens of traditional media who wish to grow and evolve, like any other business, in the face of increased competition and changing paradigms.

What is that old saying? Most people don’t like change, change doesn’t much care. You can defend, like Forbes did recently, against perceived threats and challenges to the status quo, or you can embrace them, like BusinessWeek is doing, and ride the waves. Kudos.

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7 Responses to BusinessWeek’s global realignment

  1. Niti,
    You are the first to correctly analyze the global strategy behind BW’s doing away with paper to focus on web delivery of global information and analysis. It is right on. We are already doing that with our innovation & design site
    Now we need to contact the right Indian and Chinese partners to participate with us. Any suggestions?

  2. What the changes mean for Business Week in China, India, Japan and Europe

    Not much has been written about the wrenching change going on in my brand, Business Week, as it shifts from delivery of information and analysis on paper to online. It just closed it’s Asian and European paper editions and will…

  3. What the changes mean for Business Week in China, India, Japan and Europe

    Not much has been written about the wrenching change going on in my brand, Business Week, as it shifts from delivery of information and analysis on paper to online. It just closed it’s Asian and European paper editions and will…

  4. Ralf Beuker says:

    Kudos, Niti!
    Have a safe trip! Ralf.

  5. Niti Bhan says:

    Yes, while I’m delhi and have access to all my media/advertising contacts, plese email me at funnyp – at – and give me the broad specification of the kind of partner you’re looking for. I could probably do some early groundwork here while I’m physically in New Delhi.
    Thank you 🙂

  6. Niti,
    Oops… Took me a while to discover your post. I still add my little comment…
    I would quote another part of the press release from Businessweek to raise a potential issue:
    “Customized online editions for Europe and Asia will be created as well as vertical content areas such as business education, design and innovation, and small business.”
    It seems that Businessweek merges its magazine editions into one, but are creating three (or more) different Web sites. Even if this represents different business units in Businessweek, I am not sure it is a “customer-centered” decision. The web can allow so much customization that breaking down a Web site by locations just does not make sense to me, even though I am totally for localization of content.

  7. Niti Bhan says:

    Unless, Nicolas, it’s in a different script, for example, pinyin for Mandarin or devanagri for Hindi.

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