RELATED POST: Yes, We’re at a Tipping Point—Now What?

CHICAGO—About 250 b-to-b magazine and media executives are gathering here this week for American Business Media’s 2008 Top Management Meeting. The focus of this year’s conference is four-fold, with topics including managing the future, organizational structure, technological needs and content optimization.

On Monday, key findings from the ABM Financial Trend Report 2005-2007 were presented during the conference’s second session.

The report, which cited revenue from all branded sources as relatively flat, showed print as 84 percent of average b-to-b publications’ income in 2007. The average publication generated $5.47 million in total revenue, a slight decline of 0.4 percent versus 2006 and about the same as 2005. While revenue has declined, print expenses have also declined, the report said.

During a panel, Incisive Media CEO Bill Pollak said he has seen advertisers pull back from fourth quarter advertising. “Publishers are now seeing contracts that they thought they had for 2009 disappear as of September and October,” he said. “The last eight weeks have been a totally different experience than the first eight months of this year.”

When asked if his outlook is as “rosy,” Jordan, Edmiston Group managing director Richard Mead said that while he has faith in print, he “doesn’t know whether the industry is as far forward as it should be right now.”

Repurposing Editorial

In the first session of the day, for small publishers and entrepreneurial committees, Robin Ashton, co-publisher of Food Service Equipment Reports, moderator of a session called “Blended Content Strategies,” led a discussion about repurposing and presenting editorial content in unique ways.

Wyatt Kash, editor-in-chief of Government Computer News, told the group how they’ve learned “it isn’t just about repurposing content; it’s about content development strategy.” When asked how they determine what goes on the Web and what remains in print, vice president and editorial director of Marketing & Technology Group William McDowell said “you have to let the content dictate the appropriate medium.”