Marketing Week is to change from a weekly to a monthly magazine as part of publisher Centaur Media’s long-term plan to move away from print.
Chief executive Andria Vidler told Press Gazette the move was part of the “evolution” of the Marketing Week brand and the result of its growing income digital and events operations.
The brand is set to keep its title, despite the change from a weekly publication, with online reporting to continue on a daily basis while print is set to offer more “in-depth analysis, trends and reports”.
Vidler said the move was due to Marketing Week’s “significant success online”, claiming in January it recorded 328,000 unique monthly visitors to the website, up more than 100 per cent year-on year.
Weekly magazine The Lawyer, also published by Centaur Media, is expected to move to a monthly print frequency in April with proposals to make Employee Benefits magazine an online-only offering (following Design Week which went online-only last year).
Vidler, who was appointed chief executive in November 2013, said the changes had been made possible by the £1.5m investment in digital made by the company under her watch.
“I pressed our board to let me invest in this business to ensure they were never in a place to cut these magazines purely on cost,” she said. “That would have been detrimental to these brands.”
After three years, she said a number of the brands had now reached a “pivotal point” and were “choosing to change the frequency of their print products”.
“It’s been led deliberately by a strategy,” said Vidler. “We were determined to be able to diversify the formats and our revenue streams to enable the brands to be strong in the future.”
She said the intention of the strategy had not been to “eradicate print”, adding: “Print isn’t disappearing at Centaur at all but it is evolving in being able to have a role that is distinct and complimentary to digital.”
“Print has a role in our community’s lives and what we wanted to do was to ensure that the brands had options and had the flexibility and the infrastructure to be able to be really agile and adapt to what that community needed at whatever time, and that’s what I’m proud of.”
She denied the move was based on cost-saving, but acknowledged that titles like Marketing Week, which had relied heavily on print advertising, have been hit hard by the industry-wide decline in print ad revenue.
“If it was a cost-saving initiative we would have done it three years ago. But it isn’t,” she said.
“We have invested a lot of money across all of the brands to encourage the websites to really deliver a strong user experience and to really build up that user link and relationship which is now enabling us to evolve what the print product could be.”
She added: “I don’t think it would be any surprise to anybody in the industry to know that print display advertising hasn’t been growing and if you want to grow your business you have to grow other revenue streams and find other sources [of revenue].
“It isn’t what we weren’t anticipating. I can’t believe anybody was anticipating print display advertising was growing.
“Some of our brands have bucked the trend and have been growing their market share but in order to have a healthy business you need to grow your revenue and profit and in order to do that you don’t keep a business or brand locked in a format that you don’t think can grow.”
Vidler said The Lawyer had grown its revenue from paid online content but that there were no plans to do the same at Marketing Week.
She said The Lawyer would take on more of a “themed report magazine” format in its new monthly print offering.
She also said she was not aware of any job losses in the editorial team of around 130 journalists as a result of the changes.
But, an insider told Press Gazette: “The mood among staff is depressed. They worry about their jobs and worry about the futures of the magazines they care so much for. Editorial quality is being eroded and we feel our readers will feel cheated.”