Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why Techcrunch should buy Business 2.0

“How Far Blogs have come” could have been another title for this post. New Media has indeed come a long way since the time when a HR wise guy asked me earnestly early this year “Huh, what is a blog?”

It will be increasingly difficult to determine where old media ended and new media started. Analyzing the much-hyped CNN Youtube debates, Seth Finkelstein says that “New media is just another way to pull the same old tricks”. He was pointing to the same old problem of gatekeepers, carefully selected questions and presented as Citizen’s Questions, but that is another story.

Vis-à-vis the old media, it is no more about Us vs. Them
Rather, it is about business realities, paying reporters, getting advertising, having focus, producing readable and useful stuff on a continual basis.

It is also about the current trend where blogs have become primary read for many in the coveted 18-35 age group.

Thus, it comes to pass that having becoming tired of reading stories about mainstream media buying new media startups, I propose reasons why a new media startup such as Techcrunch should buy an old media name, Business 2.0.

Business 2.0 seems to be living the magazine version of the glorious ‘hand –to-mouth, one-day-at-a-time” life that people live in poor corners of the world. Ever since, CNNMoney became the single portal for AOl Time Warner’s magazine properties, it was obvious that Business 2.0 would get second class treatment, most of the attention focused on older business magazine, Fortune.

Business 2.0, the once hip brand, became just another brand in the giant’s belly.

Hell, I used to pound the second hand magazine stalls in Daryaganj in New Delhi during earlier web 2.0 bubble for copies of Business 2.0 and RedHerring, another magazine that is biting the dust.

6 Reasons why Techcrunch should buy Business 2.0
1. Techcrunch is the zeitgeist publication of the current era. It is the Industry Standard cum RedHerring cum Upside of this Web 2.0 boom.

2. Techcrunch has a similar niche to that of Business 2.0.

3. Michael Arrington has the networking chops to arrange the money to buy Business 2.0 from Time Inc.

4. Business 2.0 has some great blogs in its portfolio and there are synergies to explore.

5. Josh Quittner of Business 2.0 can bring some sanity Michael Arrington’s rogue publisher’s ways - give Techcrunch some journalistic cred.

6. Business 2.0 will get better attention from Arrington and exposure than it is at CNNMoney. Mike gets a Print play and Business 2.0 gets events like Techcrunch 2.0 – what’s a business magazine without Brand Name smooze fests?

6 Reasons why Blogs are very much mainstream media
As I said earlier, it is no longer about Us vs. Them.

1. Many big blogs, including Engadget and Autoblog are already magazines in the garb of blogs.

2. Yesterday, Environment Blog, was bought by Discovery Communications for $10 milllion

3. Chitika says that the top 50,000 blogs may have generated $50 million in ad revenues in 2006.

4. Brandweek Magazine has created sorts of ‘media history’ by hiring a blogger to replace a journalist.

5. The Chicago Tribune Newspaper recently relaunched its website, adding multiple blogs in the hot categories – entertainment, travel, sports and others. As Scott Karp points out, essentially the paper has become a blog network.

6. Yesterday, a congressional panel in the United States voted to pass the amended version of Free Flow of Information Act, which proposes to shield journalists and advertising-supported bloggers from having to reveal their confidential sources in many situations.

I heard some time back that the September issue was going to be the last one for Business 2.0 but Time Inc has reportedly told Business 2.0’s staff to start working on October’s issue. Ah, the agony for my fellow word-pushers!

Rather than waiting for the wise guys at Time Inc. to make any haste decisions, I say the guys running the “Save Business 2.0” group on Facebook to start a “Business 2.0 plus Techcrunch” group in earnest.

The only danger:
Business2.0 plus Techcrunch: How best to make it work?

Meanwhile, one thing is clear - While Techcrunch has the web 2.0 scoops, Business 2. has better writers, no offense to Techcrunch writers.

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