VNU merges rival music trade publications

July 13, 2006

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VNU merges rival music trade publications
Matthew Flamm   NY Business   7-13-06

The hinted-at merger of rival trade publications Radio & Records and VNU’s Billboard Radio Monitor is now official: the combined papers will re-launch as a new and improved Radio & Records with its Aug. 11 issue.

VNU Business Media USA, a unit of the Dutch media conglomerate VNU N.V., made a deal to acquire the 33-year-old Radio & Records last week.

Though retaining the acquired property’s name, the new publication will look more like the 13-year-old Billboard Radio Monitor, which is publishing its last issue this week.

Instead of carrying Clear Channel’s Mediabase radio airplay charts, as Radio & Records did, the new trade journal will feature the Nielsen SoundScan airplay charts that now run in Billboard. Nielsen is owned by VNU.

Radio & Records, currently printed on newspaper stock, will be transformed into a full-color tabloid like Billboard, which is printed on coated paper.

“I’m trying to put together the best of both magazines,” says Scott McKenzie, group editorial director for the Billboard Information Group. “My goal is to retain as much of the history as I can of R&R and of Monitor as well.”

The new paper should give VNU a boost, raising the profile of its radio airplay charts and consolidating the music company advertising that was previously divided between the two publications.

“With the pressure on record companies, neither side was getting as much revenue [as it needed],” says Robert Unmacht of iN3 Partners, a media consulting company.

©2006 Crain Communications Inc

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