BusinessWeekers may feel uneasy with the staff of Bloomberg stalking the halls, but this report from Peter Kafka should have them dancing with joy.
Sure, some employees at BusinessWeek will be let go under Bloomberg’s watch, but if private equity shop ZelnickMedia had taken over, they would almost all be gone.
It was going to slash the whole operation, turning it into a Huffington Post style aggregator squeezing all the juice it could get out of the “BusinessWeek” brand.
It didn’t plan on paying for the magazine, either. It expected McGraw Hill to pay Zelnick for taking the brand off its hands. No wonder Bloomberg only had to pay five million in cash for the title.
Peter Kafka lays out the grisly details of what could have been:
- Wind down BusinessWeek’s print business “as profitably as possible” — the company would have to honour existing subscriptions, and could still sell ads in the magazine. But the focus would be on building up BusinessWeek’s web site, which has a decent-sized footprint, though not a huge one.
- Dump almost all of the company’s newsgathering staff, and outsource most almost all of that work to ThomsonReuters (TRI).
- Employ a small handful of editorial employees — perhaps 20, down from the 200-plus that are there now. Some of them would run a Huffington Post-style aggregation site that produces no original content, and some more expensive hires would produce a smattering of high quality reporting and writing designed to burnish/sustain the BusinessWeek brand. “Just to give it uniqueness and sizzle”, my source tells me.
- Dump most of the existing business side, as well, but overhaul and bulk up the sales force.