UBM Tech details sweeping reorganization
By Marie Griffin
San Francisco—UBM Tech announced a restructuring in support of a new approach that integrates online media and live events to engage b-to-b technology communities. As part of the restructuring, UBM Tech is discontinuing all print publishing, folding four underperforming events, shutting down two noncore brands and laying off about 10% of its workforce.
UBM Tech CEO Paul Miller said the strategic shift is designed to drive revenue growth and follows months of strategic planning, research with audience members and marketing customers, and analytics-based concept testing. Miller, who was named CEO last May when the formerly separate TechWeb, Electronics and Channel units were consolidated, said the changes will be rolled out over the next few months.
The downsizing will affect fewer than 100 people. The executives leaving UBM Tech as part of the restructuring include: Kathy Astromoff, CEO of Electronics; David Berlind, chief content officer; Edward Grossman, president of Business Technology Media; Fritz Nelson, editorial director of the InformationWeek Business Technology Network; and Scott Vaughan, CMO. No offices will be closed, Miller said.
The changes do not affect the Channel business, which is undergoing a separate business review.
While reducing legacy costs, UBM Tech will invest in its new strategy, particularly in analytic tools and dashboards that provide real-time intelligence on audiences' activities and preferences, Miller said. “We are making these changes from a position of strength because we think this is the right direction for the future,” he said.
As of July 1, UBM Tech will no longer print magazines. Print currently represents about 6% of the group's revenue, Miller said.
Since 2000, he noted, print advertising pages in the b-to-b tech publishing vertical have plummeted 83%. All UBM Tech media brands except for two, Test & Measurement World and Advanced Trading Systems, will continue in digital form.
All digital media brands will be shifted to the proprietary DeusM community- and multimedia-focused platform. Launched in 2007 with the IBM-sponsored Internet Evolution brand, DeusM was spun off in 2010 to provide a backbone for websites built for tech marketers with a sponsorship model. Based on its success, the platform has for the past two years been used by UBM Tech's Design News brand.
The events that are being discontinued are: Design East, Information & Technology Summit, Smarter Telco and Cable Summit.
UBM Tech has been in the process of centralizing such support functions as audience development, IT and finance, and that effort will continue. A new COO will be hired to oversee those groups, Miller said.
A new centralized organizational structure that will span all business technology and electronics markets is being implemented in the three key client- and audience-facing functions—content, which will be called Community; sales and marketing, which will be called Media; and Events.
Kelley Damore, senior VP-editorial director of the Channel group since 2009, will lead the Community department, reporting directly to Miller. Marco Pardi, president of business technology events since last August, will head Events, also reporting to Miller.
Miller will take on the role of Media head, overseeing the business/publishing function for all of UBM Tech. He declined to comment on whether he will appoint another executive to that position in the future.
The marketing services organization is being renamed the Partner Solutions Group. In addition to the content marketing services UBM Tech has been offering, this department will introduce a new custom event service.
Miller said management considered various options for the future of UBM Tech, including selling or closing media brands to concentrate exclusively on live events, a path taken by Nielsen Co. and Reed Business Information in recent years. However, the model of aligning community-based online media with live event communities was proven to perform better, he said.