The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating a planned shift from print to digital at Michigan-based BNP Media, where management has informed staffers that the company will be phasing out the print editions of all of its controlled-circulation trade magazines by the end of July.
The change, which will impact the vast majority of BNP’s approximately 40 magazines, was originally intended to be completed by December 2022 but was condensed into a three-month timeframe in anticipation of the “difficult economic environment” brought on by the pandemic, co-CEO Tagg Henderson wrote in a memo to staffers earlier this month.
Three of the company’s magazines that do offer paid subscriptions, The ACHR News, Architectural Record and Engineering News-Record, will continue to produce print editions for paying subscribers who prefer a physical magazine.
“Like almost every media business, we have seen a significant downturn in new insertion orders,” Henderson tells Folio:. “They are not gone completely, but they are down. We also had about a dozen events planned for Q2 that are now, hopefully, taking place in the second half of the year.”
While the pandemic sped up the timeframe, it wasn’t the only reason for the shift, Henderson says, noting that digital editions have grown to make up about 30% of the company’s controlled circulation and offer editors and advertisers greater insight into the types of content readers engage with.
“It’s our belief that this crisis will speed up any current trends in business and we want to stay out in front of that,” he says. “In this business, that trend is the shift to digital.”
One source at the company confirmed that management has not indicated that any employees will be laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic or the phasing out of the print editions.
“While it is very difficult to give guarantees in this environment, I can say that it’s our intention and goal to get through this as a team, together,” Henderson tells Folio:, adding that BNP has qualified for and received federal PPP funding established by the CARES Act and has temporarily frozen salary raises, hiring, travel and entertainment expenses and 401K matching.
“My great-grandfather started this business in 1926 with a printing press in Detroit,” said Henderson in a video message sent to staffers. “Make no mistake, we will continue to create and deliver magazines, just digitally. And for our paid subscribers who prefer a print format, we’ll continue to print magazines for you. For our controlled-circulation titles, there will also be some issues throughout the year that we continue to print.”