'No closures in mind' as Emap plans B2B boost

Emap’s business-to-business operation will look to digital and international opportunities for expansion and is not planning any closures in the first shake-up since the business changed hands, according to its new chief executive.

David Gilbertson told Press Gazette: ‘In due course, acquisition possibilities across the four divisions will present themselves and give us an opportunity to extend the business.

‘We have high ambitions to grow Emap into a major force in B2B.”

Asked if any closures were planned, Gilbertson said: ‘No, we have a very successful portfolio, very strong.

‘I’ve only been here five weeks and I have been particularly impressed by the strength of the portfolio.

‘We don’t have closures in mind, but obviously we will look at opportunities to focus and extend in our areas of growth.”

The first signs of a restructuring at Emap since it was bought by private equity firm Apax and Guardian Media Group came last week when it was announced the business would be divided along platform lines: magazines, exhibitions, data and conferences.

Emap said the plan was designed to bring together all the B2B magazines to share best practice.

Gilbertson has appointed Tracey Gray as a performance director, charged with introducing a new staff incentives and rewards structure.

He said he hoped remuneration and incentives could be linked ‘wherever possible’to the business’s objectives.

Asked how that might manifest itself for the journalists at Emap, Gilbertson said: ‘We would head our initiatives in a way that people could influence our financial and commercial success of their products and can participate in that financial success wherever possible.”

Gilbertson said Emap would not start rewarding online journalists for the number of page hits on a web story, as suggested by other B2B managers at the recent Periodicals Publishers Association conference.

‘I don’t believe in that. Journalistically, you go for quality and importance,’he said.

‘I think [payment by hits] is a slightly gratuitous measure. How many people have clicked on this story doesn’t mean it’s a better written, more difficult to obtain or a more important story.

‘What we are looking for is quality analytics and information discovery, helping making our magazine essential to our readers. And the nature of that essential quality comes through in the profitability of the title.”

Reed Business Information managing director Jim Muttram had told the PPA conference that if a plan to reward journalists for online hits were implemented, journalists could take a lower basic salary combined with a bonus.

Incisive Media managing director of digital strategy John Barnes said that the company had experimented with performance-based pay for journalists’ blogs.

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