New York (PRESS RELEASE – December 8, 2009) — American City Business Journals Inc. (ACBJ), the nation’s largest publisher of business-to-business information, today re-launched the Portfolio business journalism brand as a national business site and service for small and mid-sized business executives. Comprising original, in-depth reporting, thought-provoking insights, colorful features, exclusive analysis of custom research, and an intelligent business-news filtering tool, Portfolio.com is the first national business media outlet dedicated solely to delivering actionable news and information to this coveted audience.
ACBJ expects the new Portfolio.com to be “the information destination for business executives, insiders and strategists,” said Tim Bradbury, president of ACBJ New Media. “For audiences, we’re delivering an unparalleled commitment to business journalism, building on the strong success of our 700 journalists in 42 major markets. For advertisers, it’s the first national platform to reach this highly unduplicated and influential audience.”
Nielsen pegs ACBJ’s unduplicated audience of small and mid-sized business executives at some 84% versus rivals (NetView, July 2009). Some 83% of ACBJ’s audience of 13.5 million unique monthly readers consumes business news online and a full 42.5% influence business purchases. Some 23% are C-level or hold EVP/SVP/VP titles. Their personal demographics show they’re some of the most coveted and difficult to reach individuals as well: average household income is $93,000 and 15.3% have a portfolio valued in excess of $500,000.
Spending from small and mid-sized businesses is expected to reach $1.83 trillion this year, according to data compiled annually by ACBJ, and the segment continues to be a growth market, with spending across a dozen core functions up in 2009. Further, these executives are optimistic about future business prospects: more than 57% of leaders at companies with five to 499 employees surveyed in September had a positive outlook. That was up 5 points from August and up 22 points from March 2009 lows.
“Small and mid-sized businesses are widely expected to be the backbone of this recovery and represent one of the few current growth markets,” Bradbury added. “Yet they are extremely difficult readers to find and engage because they don’t move as a pack and they’re spread across a number of vertical sectors. They settle for nothing less than trusted data and insight, valuable connections and relevant, useful services. That’s why they’re highly engaged with us and that’s why Portfolio.com will offer them all three.”
Unparalleled commitment to editorial excellence
Portfolio.com’s editorial excellence will be delivered across a range of content including in-depth, original reporting and a focus on underserved angles, from a seasoned editorial staff complemented by insightful and provocative writers.
“We’re bringing back the strong point of view of the Portfolio brand,” said editor J. Jennings Moss. “We’re already producing in-depth series that look at how small and mid-sized businesses are going global as well as the new nature of risk. We’ll share exclusive research conducted across this audience. We’re identifying national trends as they emerge across disparate local markets. And we’ll take an insider’s look at the ideas and people behind the reinvention of the American economy. It’s everything from how to manage the credit crunch, to strategic ideas for entrepreneurs to tips on how survive as a road warrior.”
Portfolio.com’s series The Great Global Business Adventure, now underway, will run for a full year and is the product of embedding a reporter with a group of business owners exploring international expansion. Another series, The New Risk, next looks at whether steps taken because of the economic crisis are really improving financial stability, concludes in January. In the first of what will become regular reports on emerging national trends, the site this week looks at how solar energy is being adopted by small and mid-sized businesses and the impact of community banks closing across the country. Also today, Portfolio.com launches “U.S. Uncovered” a special section showcasing monthly demographic reports about the nation.
Exclusive research will also be delivered via national analysis of ACBJ’s incredibly popular Economic Pulse of American Business data service. The service provides marketing executives with ongoing updates about how economic and financial market events are impacting entrepreneurs as well as small- and mid-sized business owners both professionally and personally. Portfolio.com will also offer national insight into ACBJ’s annual nationwide study of 1600 small and mid-sized business owners, evaluating their use of and attitudes toward more than 250 American brands. Included are five-year trends on core brand attributes such as leadership, relevance, differentiation and value. Brand rankings are generated in six major industries under the guidance of ACBJ research chief Dr. Godfrey Phillips. Additional special reports and rankings getting national treatment will include the popular Leading Internet Users; Finance & Investments; and Business Owners Under 40.
“Some terrific journalism is being done in these markets and now we’ve got the perfect national platform to showcase it,” added Moss. “It’s all part of our commitment to infuse Portfolio.com with exclusive, deep insights that are immediately and persistently useful.”
In addition to original content, Portfolio.com will draw from the in-depth journalism being produced by local business journals as well as select content from Conde Nast titles, such as Wired and Vanity Fair. Today, the site showcases an investigation from the Puget Sound Business Journal on why Federal regulators shut down Washington Mutual.
Initial specialty subjects for Portfolio.com include banking and finance, technology, advertising and media, healthcare, energy and business travel. Throughout it all, Portfolio.com writers and editors will consider the significance for and impact on small and mid-sized business.
“These are hugely important topics to these business leaders and we’re uniquely situated to cover them well,” Moss said. “We have a core ability to spot national trends as they emerge and to present the most knowledgeable voices and insights crucial to this audience.”
Moss leads a seasoned editorial staff and smart, provocative bloggers, contributors and columnists that come from newspapers, magazines and online. Among them: Steve Rosenbush serves as industry and blog editor; Kent Bernhard Jr. is news editor; Sean Driscoll is multimedia editor; and columnists include Gary Weiss on Wall Street, Suzanne McGee on finance, Matt Haber on media, and Joe Brancatelli on business travel. Contributors include Kent Hoover, Laura Rich, Charles Wallace, Ed Silverman, Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, Matt Vella, Barbara Peterson and Mike Soraghan. Moss, most recently deputy editor of Portfolio.com during the Conde Nast run, was previously managing editor of FOXNews.com, a senior editor at ABCNews.com, Washington correspondent for The Advocate, and a political correspondent for The Washington Times.
Guest columns will come from CEOs, senior executives, small business owners, entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts.
Building on outstanding editorial content, the new Portfolio.com will also include an exclusive, intelligent business news aggregator called bizWatch that can be fully customized by keyword or ticker symbol to track more than 9,000 public companies from thousands of news sources. Unlike other aggregators, which too often act as just another fire hose of information, bizWatch combines the best aggregation technology with human curation from professional editors. It weeds out duplicate stories and serves up the most relevant coverage based on search instructions provided during user set-up and with the professional business user in mind.
Over the next few weeks, the content will expand to more than 200,000 companies that can be tracked, along with some 500,000 executives. Ultimately, a mobile version will enable users to lift the widget off the Portfolio.com site and embed it in a personal Web page or access via a mobile device.
“We’re committed to being on whatever platforms our audience uses to get need-to-know information,” explained Bradbury.
Indeed, bizWatch builds on a strong ACBJ tradition of delivering information directly to audiences across any platform. The company has more than 40 iPhone applications tailored to deliver market-specific news and national headlines and offers users quick access to a wealth of ACBJ content on other mobile devices.
Premium ad positions, charter ad deals and exclusive sponsorships
To ensure superior audience engagement with the high-quality editorial and relevant advertisements, ACBJ went with fewer, premium ad positions on the re-launched Portfolio.com site. Leader board and lower ad positions are featured on both the Portfolio.com homepage as well as article landing pages. The company is also offering a limited-time incentive to former Portfolio advertisers who commit to a Portfolio.com advertising schedule in Q1 2010: charter rates and right of first refusal for premium positions.
Display ad opportunities are complemented by a premium bizWatch sponsorship. The bizWatch tool figures prominently on the upper right hand corner of the site.
“Small- to mid-sized businesses are expected to be the engine of this recovery, and Portfolio.com’s unmatched reach and superior engagement with this audience makes it an ideal partner for companies looking to create significant impact with this strategic audience,” said Alan Ives, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing for ACBJ. “And by adding a dedicated national business title to our already strong mix of content and services, we believe there’s no better place for national brands and marketers to be for at least the next five years.”
About American City Business Journals
American City Business Journals engages 13.5 million decision makers each month through the company’s 40 newsweeklies, 42 Web sites, digital newsletters and more than 400 local events across the country. It is the largest publisher of business-to-business information in the United States. More than 4 million readers each week engage with exclusive, in-depth coverage of local business communities; some 9 million unique monthly users engage with the company’s digital content; more than 11 million e-newsletters are delivered each month via email; and the company sees more than 1 million mobile page views each month. American City is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which also operates Conde Nast Magazines, Parade magazine, Fairchild Publications, the Golf Digest companies, Newhouse Newspapers and cable television interests.