Primedia expands its online auto content presence

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Includes: NYT, PRM
by: David Jackson

Having sold About.com to The New York Times (ticker: NYT), Primedia is looking to expand its online presence in other areas. CEO Kelly Conlin discussed the auto advertising market, Primedia's (ticker: PRM) magazine business, and its online expansion in auto-related content on the company's May 5th Q1 conference call. Extracts:

The biggest single decline in the quarter came from our International Automotive Segment… seven magazines in all... This market took off, meaning double digit growth, when the 2001 movie The Fast and The Furious chronicled and celebrated this tuner lifestyle. But the auto manufacturers did not refresh their platforms... causing an advertising pull back that began in 2004, and accelerated sharply in the fourth quarter of '04. In addition, newsstand circulation began to fall.

So what are we doing about it? One, we are re-setting our cost base... Two, we are investing and launching new online properties to a demographic we know is digitally focused. The new Super Street Online launched just last week, and it is a night and day difference to what we had online before. Other sites in the category will follow soon…

So, yes, this is a category that is adjusting after years of growth, and we will have tough comparisons until we hit 2006. But it's also a category with a very attractive audience… where we have a very underdeveloped digital presence, a category where we can publish at 20% or so margins, and a category where we can continue leading a very dynamic market.

(Quotes are from the CCBN StreetEvents transcript.)