Industry Standard to Shut Down, Source Says

Standard Media International will shut down the Industry Standard magazine, according to people familiar with the matter, but a source says the publication’s Web site will continue operations.

The high-tech publication — which at the height of the dot-com craze hosted weekly happy hours on the rooftop of its San Francisco Bay area office building — is the latest casualty claimed by the harsh advertising environment.

According to the Publisher’s Information Bureau, the Industry Standard saw July 2001 ad revenue fall 78.6 percent to about $2.6 million, down from $12 million the year before. Ad pages dropped 86 percent from 2000 numbers, according to the PIB.

The Standard‘s technology focus has made it particularly vulnerable to the overall advertising slowdown. The publication originally started as a source for the “Internet Economy.” However, the parent company recently tried to rebrand the magazine and broaden its focus, changing its tagline to “Intelligence for the Information Economy.”

The publication has felt the harsh realities for more than half a year now. In February, it launched a second round of staff reductions that ultimately reached its editorial team.

Chief executive officer John Battelle said at the time: “We decided to take this course because the economic downturn is more severe than anyone expected, and we are committed to the long-term success of this company.”

Like many high-tech publications that grew thick with advertisements during the dot-com boom, the Standard had pursued aggressive expansion plans that it eventually was forced to retract. An issue-oriented supplement, the Grok, was cancelled after only a few issues; and the Industry Standard Europe was shuttered in April, only six months after its launch, after failing to find a buyer.

Officials from the Standard weren’t available for comment about the latest shut-down news. The offices were closed companywide this week for vacation, with a skeleton crew maintaining the Web site.

Fellow technology chronicler Business 2.0 magazine, which began as a monthly but ramped up to a bi-weekly publishing schedule as it filled up with ads, also fell on hard times with the dot-com bust and was forced to seek a buyer, which it found in Time Inc. The media company merged Business 2.0 with its own title, eCompany Now, and recently re-launched the blended publication.

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