Wednesday, March 26, 2008

...and then there were 5

Those who have been with us for a while may recall that I wrote last October about what I called MICE media mayhem. If you can drag yourself past the awful tabloid alliteration, my basic point was that four regional magazines covering business events in Asia seemed like an awful lot.

"Not so", says the market. TTG MICE, Reed's Events, Panacea's Mix and Haymarket's CEI Asia/Pacific are now joined by MICE in Asia from Red Robin Publishing in Malaysia. This one's a quarterly and is busily building ties with MICE events and organisations around the region. Good luck to them.

It would be unkind to propose an office sweepstake for the first to fall, especially as the whole of Reed Business Information is currently up for sale (no thanks, said APAX).


The Ops Mgr said...

Don't forget that Reed Elsevier are retaining their events division (Reed Exhibitions) during the divestment of Reed Business Information. Which might interrupt the free flow of information about events?

Paul Woodward said...

Thanks for you comment. It raises a few interesting points:

* Reed has never subscribed to the 'received wisdom' prevalent in all other major B2B companies that there may be some benefits from integration of the business publishing and exhibitions activities.

* This has led to a number of odd developments over the years where it has not infrequently been easier for RBI publishers to work with competitors to Reed Exhibitions than with the 'home' team.

* The general consensus in the industry is that the way forward for B2B is an intelligent mix of events and Internet businesses. All the web businesses which now sit with the magazines will presumably go once a suitably non-bankrupt private equity house if found. This means that all the exhibition products will have to develop their own web sites from scratch.

* ...which is all a long-winded way of saying that I'm not sure the people at the Events title in Singapore even know that Reed has an Exhibitions business. It's hard to imagine that they'll miss it much.

The Ops Mgr said...

Hi Paul,

So do you agree with the "received wisdom"/"general consensus" regarding the mix of events and B2B internet?

Is Reed Elsevier destroying value by splitting events from B2B publishing?

Paul Woodward said...

Well, like anybody who has worked inside a large company, I have learned to be suspicious of claims of "synergy". They're often easier to write on a McKinsey chart than they are to achieve in reality.

However, it doesn't make any sense to me to treat publishing as a separate business to exhibitions. I do buy the line that B2B media companies should concentrate on serving vertical markets with an array of products and services built around a common brand.

So, yes, I would have thought that this is a 'cheap' fix for the strategic disconnects which have existed within the Reed Elsevier B2B world for many years. And yes, it will almost certainly destroy value....although that value was not being 'harvested' in any effective way as it was.