Tuesday, January 03, 2006

BusinessWeek abandons its international editions

Rest assured I was on the internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.

Ok so "abandon" is a strong word, what they're doing is moving the international content to their website and stopping printing the international editions. All subscriptions to the international editions will be cancelled and subscribers will be given refunds or given accounts on the businessweek website where they can view the relocated content.

The editorial gives three reasons:
  • BusinessWeek's online readership has "exploded" and "many" of the readers have told BusinessWeek that they read the content online before the printed edition arrives at their doors.

  • The only way to "efficiently reach an expanding class of business reader everywhere and especially in emerging markets" is "with digital delivery".

  • BusinessWeek "can develop a real conversation with you online and accommodate your interests" via blogs, podcasts, yadda yadda...

They are all good reasons so I'll give two main reasons why I'm not sure I'll bother to continue paying money to BusinessWeek if it means that a subscription only gives me access to their content via a computer.

  • I already spend at least eight hours a day in front of a computer, I don't want to spend another four hours or so reading BusinessWeek content. One of the things I like(d) about BusinessWeek offline is being able to relax at home and read it without having to look at a computer screen. Or read it on the bus, or in a cafe, or on a park bench.. You get the idea.

  • There is already a lot of similar online content (e.g. BBC, Om Malik, etc.) which is well written and.. free. I like BusinessWeek's content a lot but I'm not sure I could justify paying €X a month for content which doesn't differentiate itself enough and which I may not read every month due to time constraints (I'm not in front of my computer when I'm in bed or in front of the tv or on the bus.. these are all times when I can read an "offline" edition).

I find the emerging markets point funny because these (BRIC, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, etc.) are countries where widespread internet access is not as easy to come by as in most Western countries. And yet getting rid of the printed international editions of BusinessWeek is supposed to increase their access to business consumers in those countries?

I started out reading BusinessWeek by buying it in airport newsagents as something to read on the plane. I have an interest in international business and current affairs and its content is great, informative and interesting, but I wonder how young business people and business students will find out about BusinessWeek now that it will no longer (I assume? Or will they hawk the American edition in the newsagents of Dublin, Warsaw, and Beijing?) be available on newsagent shelves?

I don't feel sorry for BusinessWeek, they've made their decision and they'll prosper or perish by it. I feel sorry for myself, because I've lost my subscription to what was a great offline read.

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