When I reflect on this past year, three words that come to mind are volatile, adaptive and surreal. I remember saying in the beginning of the year that 2009 promised to be extraordinary for a host of reasons — the swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch and of course massive job losses.
As tumultuous as it was, 2009 will go down in history as the Great Recession, not the Great Depression. Like it or not, we've had massive government intervention. We've had the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out the banks that was hatched under the Bush administration and continued under Obama, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and let's not forget the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program.
The volatility of the U.S. and world economies has taken an equally heavy toll on our readership and the publishing industry. In 2009, there were 367 publications that were shuttered, and 130 were business-to-business publications according to Mediafinder.com. My personal favorites that folded this past year included Gourmet and Metropolitan Home.
Publishing has been turned upside down due to declining subscriptions, falling ad revenue and the move to digital delivery. The good news is, however, that the rate of that decline is slowing. In 2008 there were 526 magazines that ceased publishing while 2009 saw 75 new launches.
Like the rest of the publishing industry, National Real Estate Investor can't afford to sit still. Even though we closed the year with nearly 50% market share for advertising pages amongst our peers, according to Inquiry Management Systems, a third-party company that tracks ad spending for more than 1,400 magazine titles, our staff embraced change.
For instance, in 2009 NREI produced five webinars in conjunction with sister publications Retail Traffic, Lodging Hospitality, Trusts & Estates, Registered Rep, and American City and County, our government publication.
NREI, Retail Traffic and Lodging Hospitality teamed up in December to launch a new e-newsletter — Distressed Real Estate Strategies — that reaches more than 67,000 e-subscribers. This latest product complements NREI's stable of highly successful e-newsletters that cover a range of niche topics including institutional investment, seniors housing, brokerage, technology and green building.
To keep readers informed on topics relevant to their businesses, we're also continuing to build communities within our subscriber base. Our editors work overtime to deliver content to our readers that they can't find anywhere else. For example, our November-December issue featured three white papers: the 2010 Investor Outlook in conjunction with Marcus & Millichap, the 2009 Green Building Survey in conjunction with U.S. Green Building Council, and an independent Seniors Housing Study. Since 2005, we've also produced the Global Real Estate Monitor, a monthly e-newsletter, in conjunction with GE Capital Real Estate.
In 2010, look for more cross branding between sister publications within the Penton family. Because NREI's news coverage cuts across many property types, the potential to leverage our editorial strengths across various products is substantial.
Producing a quality publication in print or online is a collaborative effort. Not only does it take talented writers and editors, but proficient individuals in our art, Web, custom solutions, marketing, circulation, production and sales departments.
The strength of the NREI brand is that the sum is greater than any of the individual parts. The print and online editions share equal billing. The print pages enable us to explore issues in a comprehensive fashion, while the Web is a great tool for disseminating information quickly and for hosting thought-provoking webinars and podcasts.
Our goal is to be a high-impact player in print and online and to be regarded as a thought leader in the industry. Are we living up to our mission? I'll let you be the judge. Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how we can be of service.
Happy New Year