B2B titles face squeeze in foot and mouth aftermath

Jeremy Peat

Journalists who work on B2B titles in the tourism, agricultural and manufacturing sectors are expected to be worst hit in the aftermath of the foot and mouth crisis.

In a speech about the wider economy and the areas which will impact most on the media industries, Jeremy Peat, chief economist of The Royal Bank of Scotland, told delegates at the Magazines & B2B 2001 conference: "Those dealing with the tourism, manufacturing or agricultural sectors will face a revenue squeeze and will be looking for cross savings." He said the crisis would have a "significant impact" on the tourism sector and he predicted cost-cutting measures in the agricultural sector. Although the scale and duration of the crisis was still uncertain, he said there were bound to be repercussions for the media sector.

He later advised journalists to "think hard" about the potential impact and identify whether the magazines they were working on could be affected.

Peat predicted the main risks to UK businesses would come from outside rather than from within. He warned that the global economy was at risk due to the US economy "decelerating sharply".

"I expect domestic markets to remain strong and the service sector to remain robust but the manufacturing sector will suffer because of the US slowdown," he added.

He stressed the importance of the consumer and said US consumers had maintained a degree of momentum despite the slowdown.

Peat said he also saw potential in the motoring sector. "I see a lot of scope for advertising within buoyant markets which need to compete." "This is a time for concern but in the words of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic," he added.

Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of CondŽ Nast, spoke about the changing face of the customer publishing market. He said the industry was beginning to mature and suggested there was 15 per cent of growth left. He said: "It is true we are going through a tremendous time of change but there will always be room for independents." He said there was a danger of some companies producing titles which looked the same. "They have one bank of subs who cannot even remember which page they are looking at… we need to be very careful and make sure we don’t all merge into an overall blandness," he added.

Meanwhile, research published by management consultants McKinsey & Company showed that two-thirds of magazine publishers missed their online profit targets last year. Nick Lovegrove, director of McKinsey’s global media and entertainment practice, said magazine publishers were pioneers of the internet and had suffered more than most from the dot.com downturn.


by Ruth and Addicott

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