Outsell's e-briefs          April 18, 2003
A Weekly Analysis of Events and Issues
Affecting the Information Content Industry


Buying & Selling eContent Tackles Big Ideas

The energy of the Content Industry's best minds and most passionate
champions fueled this week's fourth annual Buying & Selling eContent
Conference, co-produced by Outsell and Information Today.  The unique
mix of well-positioned participants from across the entire content
value chain - creators, distributors, buyers, integrators, and users -
sparked dialogue that will help shape the future of the industry. Big
ideas and hot topics:

- Innovations on Display:  Everywhere, we saw signs that companies are
doing what we have advised during tough economic times: dabbling with
new ideas, innovating using both marketing and technology.
Interactive Data, Gale, and Factiva invigorated attendees with
examples of market-driven innovations based on comprehensive study of
content buyers' professional workflow needs.  Microsoft was also a hot
topic, given recent announcements of content deals to embed access to
Factiva, Gale, and Alacritude content in Office 2003 products Word,
Excel, and Powerpoint.

- Rich Dialogue on Vendor/Buyer Relationships: Several conference
sessions revealed how the conflicts between extended budget cuts by
content buyers and some vendors' delivery and pricing policies have
passed the pain point.  Buyers, including Sun and AIG, described the
application of comprehensive metrics to content usage in order to
identify and cancel low value content.  Sophisticated research
libraries including Los Alamos National Labs and University of
California demonstrated how the need for cross-disciplinary research
is reshaping the structure of the services they provide.  Buyer
presentations painted a vivid picture of what's really going on in
user markets and exploded the myth of a "typical buyer."  There are
some vendors who are getting the picture and dealing with it, and
there are others who don't think they have much to learn from a
buyer's presentation.  The warning bells rang out loudly that these
diverging vendor - buyer trajectories are unsustainable and will
result in dramatic industry restructuring.

- "e" on Display.  IBM WebFountain, Yahoo Enterprise Portals, and
others created a buzz by spotlighting the growing role of "e" where
technology and content meet.   Their "e-mojo" and new focus on content
buyers' needs makes them hot new content industry players to watch.
Attendees were encouraged by the potential new sources of business
content IBM's WebFountain may offer, as it creates new actionable
business content from large stores of unstructured and semi-structured

- Risk Aversion and Revenue Protection:  There was enough innovation
and optimism in evidence to make the vendors who still speak the
language of risk aversion and revenue protection really stand out.
That kind of fear-based discussion needs to be over.  It inherently
restricts the options.  The companies that aren't using marketing and
technology to get to the next stage, and who are concentrating on
preserving what they have, don't stand a chance in the changing world
that was vividly highlighted here.
  Keynote speaker Larry Prusak set the right tone.  The author of the
new Harvard Business School book "What's the Big Idea" reviewed the
difficulties that innovative "Idea Practitioners" face in getting Big
Ideas implemented in business.  As the conference unfolded over the
next two days, the full range of Prusak's corporate cultures were in
view, from the Open to the Internally Focused.  The conference
confirmed that the Content Industry is thriving.  It showcased its
hottest vendors - the ones learning to walk every day in their Buyer's
shoes.  It gave technology leaders a forum to invite vendors to
partner in researching the key buyer needs they can serve jointly to
reach a larger total content buyer market.


"Being There" Not Enough for Primedia CEO

The only surprise in the resignation yesterday of Primedia's
Chairman-CEO Tom Rogers was that controlling shareholder Kohlberg
Kravis Roberts (KKR) waited so long to pull the trigger.  The
departure shows that just "being on the Web" with major online
acquisitions is not good enough for a traditional publisher; the
online properties have to be integrated and make a contribution to the
whole.  After his arrival in 1999 Rogers called Primedia "a
traditional media company that has been just waiting to have its
new-media potential developed."  To jumpstart the transformation,
Primedia acquired for almost $700 million in the fall of
2000, after the dotcom bust, later writing off $345 million. Primedia
shares dove 25% at the announcement and never recovered.  The 450 web
sites were considered amateurish, were never integrated with their
counterpart magazines and never diversified their business model
beyond ad revenue.  The wheels have been ready to fall off for Rogers
for almost two years, given the 90% collapse in share price, $1.7
billion current debt, and $2.1 billion of cumulative losses since 1999
at the $1.6 billion revenue magazine, directory, and TV conglomerate.
KKR is now likely to sell off its B2B business and other properties,
leaving only the 145 core, profitable hobby and enthusiast magazines.

EBSCO/RoweCom Deal Finalized

The sale of RoweCom to EBSCO was approved by a U.S. bankruptcy court
last week, pending the acceptance by a majority of publishers to honor
orders placed by RoweCom customers in 2002.  Most publishers are
coming on board, so the deal seems likely to go through.  EBSCO will
pay around $7 million for the remains of RoweCom - which at this point
isn't much more than its customer relationships.  Meanwhile Flip
Filipowski, chairman of RoweCom parent divine, Inc., which is also in
bankruptcy, is downsizing his career.  He and a partner recently
bought the Winston-Salem Warthogs, a minor-league baseball team in
North Carolina.

Bertelsmann Close to Sale of Academic and Professional Unit

Reuters is reporting that Bertelsmann is close to a sale of its
academic and professional publishing unit BertelsmannSpringer.  The
sale is expected to raise over a billion dollars.  Sources identified
the bidders as buyout houses Cinven and Candover; CVC Capital Partners
and U.S. firm Blackstone Group; and Apax Partners and UK-based
academic publisher Taylor & Francis Group Plc.  STM and professional
publisher Taylor & Francis recently acquired another professional
publisher, CRC Press, from Information Holdings, Inc. (IHI) for $95

FIND/SVP Acquires Guideline Research

Guideline Research Corporation, a provider of custom market research,
has been acquired by New York research and consulting firm FIND/SVP.
The deal fills a gap for FIND/SVP clients, who will now be able to
obtain survey research directly from FIND/SVP rather than third-party
companies, and will add market research capabilities to existing
assessment and analysis, benchmarking support, and competitive
analysis offerings.  Guideline's expertise includes strategic
research, new product development and brand repositioning, research
for the law, and advertising. It has expertise in healthcare,
financial services, consumer packaged goods, apparel, legal research,
energy, insurance, and Internet research. The acquisition was financed
in part by a $3.5 million investment from private equity firm Petra
Capital Partners of Nashville.


Outsourcing IC: It's Here

In e-briefs a few weeks ago, we noted that we've seen increasing
interest in the idea of using the big IT service companies (IBM, EDS,
etc.) to handle external content management activities on an
outsourced basis.  As IT and IC become increasingly intertwined, it
seems natural that organizations that have already established a good
relationship with an IT services provider will want to offload some of
their content purchasing and vendor management activities to those
same service providers.  Recently we've become aware of a few
professional services firms that have seen library outsourcing or
content acquisition written into traditional IT outsourcing RFPs from
potential clients.  It's another confirmation of the trend that IC
functions will start to be outsourced in conjunction with IT


Outsell/SIIA Webcast
Know your Users: Finance and Legal Professionals

This webcast will profile corporate finance and legal professionals as
information consumers. Outsell will present and analyze its extensive
data about their information habits and preferences. Key attributes to
be analyzed include: goals, values, and work tasks; types of
information used; information spending levels; perceptions of the
Internet as an information source; and information problems and
challenges. Content vendors targeting corporate finance and legal
professionals will come away with a solid understanding of the unique
information needs of an important group of users.
Presented by Roger Strouse, Director and Lead Analyst.
May 21, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm ET
Register now at

Participate in Industry Study Before April 23

Outsell invites information professionals; knowledge managers; market,
competitive, and business intelligence professionals; librarians;
training and learning professionals; and portal/Web site managers in
all industries, government agencies, academic institutions, and
non-profit organizations to take part in our annual study of content
deploying functions.  Professionals in these roles are invited to take
a survey that's online through Wednesday April 23.  If you submit your
responses on or before that date, Outsell will enter your name in a
drawing for one of five cash prizes of $200.
You can access the survey by pointing your browser to:
Username: Outsell
Password: survey
If you also received an invitation to take this survey from your
professional organization, we ask you to take the survey only once.
For more information about this study, please contact Karen Wilson at
[log in to unmask]

New Outsell Research

"TrendAlert: An Outsell View Of Content Integration Technology".
A companion to our earlier "TrendAlert: The State Of Content
Integration Inside The Firewall," this Briefing identifies and
examines the technology players that are helping organizations
integrate content with user applications. It identifies the three
stages of integration activities: information needs assessment,
aggregation of content, and building user applications. Eleven types
of technology players are discussed, and five vendors that were
identified in our content integration tour as providers of content
integration solutions are profiled in detail: Biz360's Market 360,
Factiva's Fusion, Intelliseek's Enterprise Search Server (ESS),
Plumtree's federated search component, and WebFeat's PRISM. For
content deployment professionals, this Briefing is a valuable guide to
the players that will help integrate content in their specific
environments, and it gives advice for evaluating the solutions. For
content vendors, the Briefing shows how the worlds of Information
Technology (IT) and Information Content (IC) are no longer separate
realms, and that more content vendors need to build interoperability
into their content.  Available at

We want to hear your feedback, and we want to publish your
comments on the events we cover in e-briefs (anonymously
if you prefer).  Send comments, news, insights to:

David Curle
Editor, e-briefs
Outsell, Inc.
mail to:[log in to unmask]
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Outsell is the only research and advisory firm that focuses
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Founded in 1994, Outsell helps world-class content vendors,
Global 2000 companies, government agencies, and leading
educational institutions increase their understanding of
users and end-markets, assess content quality and
effectiveness, benchmark operations,  hire and retain
executives, and develop more successful internal and
commercial content products and services.
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(the "Information") are based on qualitative and/or
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