By Patrick Barrett, former Media Week editor
The closure of Media Week and Revolution marks another sad week for the media and marketing trade press.
I’m particularly sad about Media Week, which I edited between 1998 and 2002 and which many rightly regarded as a core part the trade media covering a hugely important element of the industry.
Indeed in terms of readership Media Week had a greater reach than its more glamorous rival Campaign.
Media Week always played a key role in championing the planning and buying skills, thinking and analysis delivered by media agencies that under pins the creative advertising efforts that appear on TV, in print, on posters and of course increasingly online.
The magazine analysed the performance of media brands, gave voice to the opinions and personalities in the business and examined the trends and issues that ebb and flow across the commercial media industry, in the kind of detail that’s simply not done anywhere else.
I have to ask then will the media agencies that handle billions of pounds of media spend each year continue to get a decent level of representation in the media?
What about their counterparts in the media owners; the sales teams responsible for securing spend for their media brands in radio, out-of-home, TV, newspapers, magazines and digital?
Haymarket, Media Week’s owners, issued a press release on the morning of the magazine’s last issues (November 17th) saying that although the print edition had ceased, media industry coverage would continue through a dedicated team reporting under the umbrella of its portal BrandRepublic.com.
The Media Week Awards, which always accounted for a sizeable proportion of the magazine’s income will also continue.
It’s clear however that with a reported 18 editorial job losses (including some from Revolution) the level of future coverage will not match that delivered by the magazine.
For all the tough commercial realities for the media and marketing trade press, which reflect the fortunes of the wider industry and the structural shift to digital coverage and the use of social media in communications, there’s still something significant about an industry having its own magazine.
A magazine delivers a different level of exposure and signifies a kind of maturity.
Reading long thought-led articles that examine an issue in detail is also simply much more palatable in good old fashioned print.
We might well reach a situation however, where trade coverage is simply untenable commercially in print form.
It will be interesting to see whether the closure of the print forms of Revolution and Media Week create a substantial uplift in BrandRepublic’s audience or whether that readership will simply be lost.
In our line of business; enhancing the profile, reputation and perception of business brands, we need to gently remind clients that in terms of reach, the value of digital exposure can’t be under-estimated, especially when the options narrow.