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At Price of $1, Is BusinessWeek the New Value Meal?

Is it really possible that BusinessWeek could be sold for $1? I'm not talking about the newsstand price. I'm talking about the whole franchise. Sources are telling the Financial Times that BW could actually go for a buck -- the same price that TV Guide went for earlier this year. Let's put this into context, shall we? At $1:
  • BusinessWeek would go for one cent more than the 99-cent items on a fast-food menu.
  • Is roughly one-third the cost of a Starbucks tall latte -- their smallest size.
  • Is about 80 percent less than a single copy bought on the newsstand (this information based on this link, as I couldn't find it on the magazine Web site).
You're first reaction to this may be, "Whoa, this is crazy," -- but here's why it's not: without any clear sign of what the future holds for BW, or even the entire category of business magazines, it's very hard to determine a value for this franchise, the clear laggard in its competitive set. While the economic climate has been devastating for BW's main competitors, Fortune and Forbes, BW is faring the worst, by far. According to numbers from the Publishers Information Bureau, the title's ad revenue was down by 39.8 percent in the first quarter, plummeting from $54 million to $34 million. Fortune was down by 26.3 percent, dropping from $50 million to $37.9 million; Forbes' ad revenue went down by 15 percent, from $61 million to $55.6 million. In other words, not only is BW losing a lot more revenue in terms of the raw numbers and the percentage drop compared to its competitors, but as the smallest of the three books already, it had the most to lose. And it's losing it.

Previous coverage of business magazines at BNET Media: