No Cuts in Events as CMP Technology Restructures Print Business

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Manhasset, NY – The events business that CMP Technology has been building up in recent years emerged unscathed from a restructuring that will cost the magazine unit about 200 jobs and eliminate three titles. Parent company, UBM, decided to refocus its U.S. business on exhibitions as part of an ongoing strategy to improve the unit’s margins. CMP has been the squeaky wheel in UBM’s business since the  tech bubble burst  at the start of the decade.

The overhaul announced June 13 is moving CMP toward a strategy that emphasizes online platforms while also capitalizing on conferences and other live events. “We see a natural between online activity and event activity,” CMP President and CEO Steve Weitzner told Trade Show Executive. “We also see that the more the online business grows, the more interest there is in events.”

CMP has invested $146 million in acquisitions and launches over the past two years to bolster its online and live offerings. A highlight was the acquisition in January 2006 of event organizing companies Shorecliff Communications for $12.3 million and Media Live International’s Technology Media Group for $65 million. The deal with Media Live brought CMP the Interop series of events that have become a flagship brand in the IT sector. CMP said the May 20-25 Interop Las Vegas event saw a 10% increase in attendance and 100 new exhibitors.

The investment in events was a signal that CMP was not restructuring out of financial necessity nor was it an indication the company was being prepared to be put up for sale by its parent company, United Business Media.

Weitzner said CMP would continue to build its entire line of events from Interop on down to exclusive roundtable sessions that serve as meeting places for the buyers and sellers who are part of the community that revolves around CMP’s online products. “There is something in the marketer that says, ‘All this virtual touching is good, but now I need to get right in front of the customer to close the deal or promote my brand,’” Weitzner said. “We are seeing a real resurgence in the face-to-face events.”

The immediate future of CMP’s print operations is not so rosy, although the company is betting that the consolidations will pay off in the form of operational streamlining, more resources available for the stronger titles and healthier brand recognition in the various market segments. To that end, CMP is shutting down its SysAdmin publication and folding Optimize and Network Computing into the larger InformationWeek. “We are focusing our attention on a few key brands in each segment, “ Weitzner said. “So, to the extent that we have fewer print brands, then Interop could get more attention.”

Reach Steve Weitzner at (516) 562-5000 or sweitzman@cmp.org