Billboard grows in many media genres

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VNU Business Media's Billboard magazine spun a record year in 2006, with an 11 percent rise in revenue and a 64 percent increase in pages.

The music publication, which targets the 17 to 34 age group, attributed the increases to its special features. Billboard's year-end issue carried nearly 80 ad pages, one of the title's largest issues ever.

"This is the result of three years of building really an enterprise culture," said John Kilcullen, publisher of Billboard magazine, New York.

The network of All Music Guide and www.billboard.com continued to grow as well, with 5.8 million unique visitors. It finished 2006 with a 35 percent lift in ad revenue over 2005.

Subscriptions to Billboard magazine also climbed more than 10 percent from last year. Billboard mobile subscriptions in the United States, Canada and Japan now exceed 25,000.

"I think we were able to give the customer what they want, especially with our flexible pricing plan," Mr. Kilcullen said. "It is like cable and television, where our digital subscriptions are a monthly paid plan." The magazine offers a three-day free trial for digital subscriptions, too.

Last year, Billboard signed a multi-year deal with Japanese company Hanshin Content Link, which let Billboard Live nightclubs open in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. The deal spawned other branded products such as Web sites, publishing properties and television and radio programs.

Billboard augmented its licensing base by adding its charts to new music downloading service Microsoft Zune and to TouchTunes Music Corp., a company that produces digital-downloading commercial jukeboxes.

"We were able to set lofty goals and accomplish them through integrated marketing from online pop-up ads to physical direct marketing at trade shows," Mr. Kilcullen said.

The Billboard brand joined with 13th Floor Television last year to create Billboard Latino magazine, a monthly Spanish-language publication that complements the "Billboard Latino" TV show. Billboard also launched its first Regional Mexican Music Summit in Los Angeles.

Billboard acquired Radio & Record in August as a sister publication. R&R is the radio industry's news source, providing decision makers with in-depth coverage of the business, layouts, visuals, digital services and industry-standard airplay charts from Nielsen BDS.

The company also attributes its success in 2006 to its redesigned site at www.billboard.biz and business-to-business Web sites. The new sites include chart data, enhanced graphics, better navigation and expanded industry coverage.

The brand released two new consumer video products, "Billboard in Sixty" and "Billboard Underground," that focus on music news and emerging artists across all genres. They are accessible via www.billboard.com.

Projects for this year include mobile initiatives and conferences.
"We want to continue to be the knowledge point for all industry executives and music fans alike," Mr. Kilcullen said.

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