Over the weekend, I gave quite a bit of thought -- and had numerous conversations and e-mail exchanges with various colleagues -- to Purchasing Magazine's untimely demise last Friday. For those who are just waking up to the story today, Reed decided to shut down a number of its trade titles, including Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Review, after failing to find a buyer for them. As a new media company that was technically competing against Purchasing for eyeballs (I say "technically" in the loosest possible sense because I think there's a big difference between journalism and blogging/analyst research), the entire Spend Matters team views the event (from a self-serving lens, in part) with a combination of sadness, trepidation and potential. But for us, Purchasing's demise raises more questions that it answers:
- Is there room for print in today's procurement and supply chain world from a wide circulation perspective (or a narrower one, aimed towards a more senior audience)?
- Did Reed "toss the buying baby out with the bathwater?" Why did they not try to remake the title into something different, cutting costs to bring it to profitability?
- Where did the Purchasing business model fail -- or more specifically, where did it fail to adapt to the current environment?
- What would a next generation Purchasing publishing model look like (i.e., an online and/or print source that combined significant factual reporting on markets, commodities, technology, etc.)? How would it differ from the direction Purchasing was headed in?
- How should Spend Matters and MetalMiner react? Should we continue down our current path (combining a blog and a research business) or should we also consider pursuing more traditional reporting to fill the void left by Purchasing's loss?
- Are there any lessons for us in this? How can we learn from Reed's move, so that we never find ourselves in a similar situation down the line?
- What assets of Purchasing -- outside of their basic reporting -- did Spend Matters readers find most useful? Should we try to replicate this in any way?
I look forward to a dialogue around this, hopefully sooner rather than later. The entire Spend Matters and MetalMiner team (which currently stands at five strong from a full-time perspective) is very interested in your candid feedback and input on the subject.
- Jason Busch