Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Despite Beleaguered Books, A/S/M Battles the Storm

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Despite Beleaguered Books, A/S/M Battles the Storm

Article excerpt

Adweek and its siblings are fighting for their futures. In many ways, this year has been a calamity for parent company A/S/M Communications. Executives up and down the corporate structure, however, say they're staying the course.

"We're full-bore ahead," says John Babcock Jr., president of the publications group of BPI Communications, parent company of A/S/M. Some indicators bear this out, including Adweek's redesign in mid-September, a beefed-up editorial staff, a new magazine production system and the reorganization of the ad sales department in July.

Advertising pages at Adweek and Adweek's Marketing Week have declined dramatically this year, and MediaWeek, launched in January, is struggling.

On top of that, there have been several high-level management changes, and perhaps even a bit of corporate finger-pointing. All of this has led to speculation that the A/S/M magazines may be sold, merged or closed. "The BPI people have been substantially disappointed [by the] whole operation they acquired," says one industry executive.

A/S/M executives hotly dispute the rumors. "We're not worried about anything," says A/S/M editor in chief Craig Reiss. Still, Adweek had 475 pages through August, down from 826 in the first eight months of 1990, according to Space Analysis Systems. Adweek's Marketing Week had 88 pages, down from 193 in the same period in 1990, and MediaWeek, launched in January, had 56 pages through August.

By contrast, the category's leader, Advertising Age, had 1,265 pages through August, down from 1,536 in 1990. MediaWeek's competitor, the fortnightly Inside Media, owned by Cowles Business Media (which also publishes FOLIO:), had 324 pages through August, a slight decline from 333 in the same period of 1990.

Meanwhile, A/S/M's president and CEO, Kenneth Fadner, was removed from day-to-day responsibilities in late September. …

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