May 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Simon Carless
Publishing periodical Folio Magazine has a cover feature called 'Ziff's Last Stand' in the May 2007 issue, with the front cover headline being 'Breaking Up An Icon', and yeah - it's a little bit depressing from the point of view of the print media behemoths.
The story starts, regarding the EGM, Games For Windows and 1UP.com owner: "Of the big three tech publishers (CMP Technology and IDG are the others), Ziff Davis Media has had by far the most interesting story and in some ways, the most startling success. During the six-year tenure of CEO Robert Callahan (he joined in October 2001) it has had a two-sided challenge: Stanching the decline of print while building out an e-media business. It hasn’t been easy. The company barely skirted bankruptcy in 2002, carries a crushing debt load, and unlike its two peers, had essentially no resources for growth."
There's some insight on the Ziff Game Group - with specific stats - from John Davison: "In the Game Group, the challenge has been responding to a slow start. “Competitively, the situation we were in was our print brands were very strong in this space, but we were late to the online world,” says Davison, senior vice president and editorial director of the group. “We once had GameSpot, which was sold to C|Net. And the other big online game site was IGN. They’re both huge and keep getting bigger. I think IGN is about 20 million monthly visitors and GameSpot is close to that.” The piece then cites the 1UP Network at 13 million unique visitors and 97 million page views monthly.
But here's the money quote when it comes to what's happening to Ziff Davis, which is still for sale, of course, according to remarks from an un-named 'expert': “[Possible acquirers] would probably all like to have the online assets... Ziff has done a terrific job of building their online business, but they still have a major position in big print magazines and they are all still continuing to struggle—the opposite of economies of scale are diseconomies. You have to figure out what your standalone expenses are.” [Via PaidContent.]