Emap, the publisher of Retail Week and Nursing Times, is to be rebranded, with all print editions to be scrapped as its parent company moves towards a digital-only magazine and events business.
As a result of the restructure Top Right, which publishes a total of 17 magazines including Architects’ Journal, Construction News, MEED and Health Service Journal, is to “retire” the venerable Emap brand which has been a publishing institution for almost 70 years.
Top Right Group said a new holding company will be created and that the Emap and 4C brands will be formally retired.
Emap’s parent group, Top Right, was also previously called Emap, but was restructured and renamed Top Right Group after being bought by Apax Partners, the private equity group, and Guardian Media Group in 2008. In 2012, the group was split into five operating companies, one of which retained the Emap name.
The new business, which will hold a customer launch in November, will help bring about a faster transition of former Emap products into pure play digital and event businesses.
“We are at the final stage of the conversion [of readers] from print to digital,” said Duncan Painter, chief executive of Top Right. “Across the Emap portfolio 67% of revenues are from digital and events. Over the next 12 to 18 months all of the titles will become digital-only.”
The first tranche of titles to stop being printed will most likely include Retail Week – for the last 10 weeks new readers have only been offered a digital subscription package – Health Service Journal and MEED.
Titles such as Drapers are more likely to stop being printed on a longer time scale of about 18 months.
Painter said that Emap is being scrapped because the company has found it impossible to get the industry to accept the brand as a digital publisher.
“We just haven’t been able to get the market to accept Emap as a digital brand,” he said. “The business has moved on from traditional publishing. The best strategy was to retire the name.”
Top Right will now merge the Emap operations with its 4C division, home to businesses including environmental data business Groundsure, Glenigan and Planet Retail.
The new as yet un-named operating company will be run by Natasha Christie-Miller, currently the chief executive of Emap.
“Creating this new company is an opportunity to finalise the successful digital migration of our great brands which started four years ago,” she said.
Top Right’s restructure will effectively leave it with three operations. The others are fashion information business WGSN and events operation i2i, which includes the Cannes Lions festival.
“Customers are sending a clear message,” said Painter. “Digital subscriptions and live events are the formats they want to engage with. This change finalises our group’s migration to a digital and large scale events company.”
Emap, which began as a regional newspaper publisher, became a plc in the late 1970s. In 2008 the company sold its TV, radio and consumer magazine businesses to Bauer.
The business-to-business titles were acquired by Apax Partners and Guardian Media Group, the publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers, which owns less than 33% of Top Right.