Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Emap's Basket of Troubles Is Result of Expanding Too Far in Wrong Directions; Emap Plans a Three-Way Split: Consumer Mags Such as Heat and Grazia; Lucrative Business-to-Business Titles; and Radio Stations Including Kiss and Magic

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Emap's Basket of Troubles Is Result of Expanding Too Far in Wrong Directions; Emap Plans a Three-Way Split: Consumer Mags Such as Heat and Grazia; Lucrative Business-to-Business Titles; and Radio Stations Including Kiss and Magic

Article excerpt

Byline: ROY GREENSLADE

IN THE words of that wonderful 1960s Walker Brothers hit, the mediagroup Emap is finding that breaking up is so very hard to do.

It certainly isn't making it easy on itself either, because it is keen for afull-scale sell-off while offers, so far, have emerged only for individualportions of the group.

Yesterday's results were hardly a morale-booster, with a 16% fall in profits inthe six months to the end of September. Overall revenues were down just alittle, though the three divisionsradio, business-to-business magazines and consumer magazinesenjoyed varying fortunes.

Its consumer magazines division, which include such titles as Heat, Grazia,Closer and FHM, suffered a 6% loss, with the weeklies doing rather well and themonthlies plunging further.

Advertising prospects do not look promising either. That was offset by betterbusiness publishing news, where there has been reasonable growth. As for radioits stations include Magic, Kiss and Kerrang! plus a variety of well-regardedbrands in major citiesthere have been increases in revenue, profit and audiences.

But none of this made headlines because Emap is on the blocks and all thatanyone is interested in is the group's eventual fate. It looks increasinglyunlikely that it will survive as an entity, a victim of a poor strategy poorlyexecuted. It is sobering to recall that it was once considered to be a greatmedia player. Throughout the 1990s, Emap was regarded as one of the pre-eminentmagazine publishers. It launched new consumer titles, making a great success ofmarketing to niche audiences, with magazines for pursuits such as golfing,walking and angling.

Meanwhile, it also expanded into radio, by acquiring Trans World Communicationsand the Metro Radio Group, and pulled out of newspapers, selling them off toJohnston Press.

It was, sadly, the last link to its foundation as a newspaper group, which hadbegun back in 1887 when Sir Richard Winfrey, sometime mayor of Peterborough,bought the Spalding Guardian. …

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