The B2B media and information industry’s revenues climbed by 2.7% to $28.4 billion last year, as growth in spending on events, digital advertising and data/business information more than offset declines in print advertising, per Connective’s Business Information Network.
Events remained the single largest revenue source for the industry, growing by 3.7% to $12.65B and representing almost 45% of the total. The report notes that B2B publishing continues to see growing revenue from “a mix of conference-expo hybrids, hosted buyer events, awards programs and online learning and training.”
Meanwhile, digital advertising ($6.3B) has just about caught up to print advertising ($6.4B), with the former growing by 17.4% and the latter declining by 4.1%. That’s a far cry from 2009, when print was more than triple the size of digital. Connectiv reveals that traditional display ad revenues have largely plateaued, with digital’s growth instead fueled by account-based marketing, digital marketing services, data-driven advertising packages and native ads.
Just three of 22 categories measured saw an increase in print ad revenues: architecture (+3.7%); healthcare (+1.7%); and automotive (<1%). The Connectiv data suggests, then, that in the B2B market, digital will overtake print as the dominant source of ad revenues next year. By comparison, a recent PwC report forecast that digital would overtake print in trade magazine ad spend in 2020.
Finally, another trend for B2B publishers is to act as data and business information providers. While growth in this area has been slower than in others (+2.7% last year), Connectiv sees this as set for significant increases in the years to come, as many publishers reclassify themselves as “business information services” rather than “business media.” In fact, Connectiv members predict that paid content, data and information services will become their second-largest source of revenues after events.
About the Data: Connectiv says that its BIN report “combines data from several sources. Event revenue is supplied by CEIR; print advertising data is provided by publishing service bureau IMS. Data on B2B digital advertising is estimated by Connectiv based on information provided by the IAB and the data component of the BIN report is provided by Outsell, supplemented by publicly available data and Connectiv estimates.”