Advanced Manufacturing, Green Business, Network Cabling and Workplace were shuttered by CLB Media Inc. last week. The company, which owns more than 20 b-to-b publications, discontinued the titles in order to focus resources and cut back on costs, according to Niel Hiscox, vice president of publishing, media. Two people—an editor and a junior salesperson—were laid off as a result of the closures. One art department position that was unfilled will remain so.
This nine-year-old title covered many of the same topics as Manufacturing Automation, another CLB title. “They were essentially direct competitors,” Hiscox said. Advanced Manufacturing will now appear as a branded section with Manufacturing Automation and maintain a Web presence.
This title, launched last year at the same time as Energy Management, has suffered as executives shift their attention from the environment to the economy, Hiscox said. The magazine was initially able to attract advertising from companies looking to promote “green” initiatives—car manufacturers, banks, tech companies—but, as Hiscox put it, “ that kind of an ad expenditure is nice to have, but it isn’t your core messaging. And in this particular market, nobody’s spending money on nice-to-haves.” CLB plans to keep the title alive in some digital form and Hiscox expects the title will be revived when the economy recovers.
While cabling was once a narrow enough business to build a magazine around, "we really found that a lot of our other books were touching in this area and the traditional cabling market was becoming a small part of the concerns for the players in it,” Hiscox said. CLB did have success with an event called Netcomm, held in Halifax last year, and plans to add events in Montreal and Saskatoon. Other CLB magazines, such as Electrical Business, will be used to promote the events, while a Netcomm website, e-newsletter and printed show guide will be developed.
Compared to the other magazines in CLB’s legal group, which Hiscox said have had “a lot of growth in the last few years,” the business opportunities for Workplace were minimal. The magazine had fallen to third-place in the human resources category (behind Canadian HR Reporter, published by Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., and the online-only HR.com), which, according to Hiscox, “in the Canadian b-to-b context is not where you want to be.”
The soft economy weighed heavily in the decision to close all four magazines, Hiscox said. “I think it’s safe to say that any product that has a bit of a marginal business case, over the next 12 months, is not going to see its situation get better…The crude analogy would be a pruning of the tree: You take off the branches because you think the tree will be healthier without them. “