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Global audience development August 9, 2007

Posted by Bernard Lunn in B2B Media, Globalization, India, Online Advertising.
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American Business Media firms have a big opportunity to globalize. There is no other country that has a large enough market to support most of the niches that make up the 1,000 titles in the B2B Media world. So American B2B Media firms are the only ones with the scale and brand to go global in most of these niches. The question is how to take this opportunity.

The traditional answer has been licensing. That was the right answer for a print-centric world. You needed a local partner that understood the local nuances of content, circulation, production and advertising.

However the print economics in some of these markets are challenging. Take India as an example. That 300 million middle class is an enticing market and the opportunity in consumer publishing is growing fast; this is is country where new Newspapers are starting up! However B2B makes up only 1% of the media market and 50% of that is within IT. Advertising rates are far lower than in the US and with print costs pretty similar it is hard to see the economics working out.

However online it is a different story. With an almost zero cost per additonal online subscriber, the gross margins look good. Many Publishers tell me that they get a lot of traffic internationally and they know a lot of smaller vendors who want access to their US audience. This is not just classic English-speaking markets (UK, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand) as the “business class” globally tends to speak English and seek out content from US based sites.

With User Generated Content (UGC) techniques it should be relatively easy to localize content; but even without this there is a big market as markets globalize.

Currently many Publishers are in reactive mode. They know from the weblogs that international visitors are coming but they don’t know enough to really sell that audience to advertisers. This requires a more proactive global audience development strategy.

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