Member profile: MediaTec doubles head count, repositions events as program series

Norm kamikow
Norm Kamikow

Jan. 16, 2013 -- Last week, MediaTec Publishing Inc., which primarily covers human capital issues for human resources executives, announced it had closed a deal to acquire Crain Communication's HR title, Workforce Management. The deal is what MediaTec calls a perfect fit for the company’s existing portfolio of products.

With the acquisition, most of the staff of the 91-year-old publication, and its associated website, newsletters and annual Optimas Awards, will move to MediaTec's headquarters in Chicago -- which, as it happens, is only three blocks away from their previous home. The acquisition also increases MediaTec's staff by 52 percent and greatly grows its targeted audience members.

"The magazine has tremendous tradition," said Norm Kamikow, president and editor in chief at MediaTec. "It has a great following. We look at Workforce and its website -- it has 460,000 members. That gives you an indication of what human resource executives feel about the publication and how critical they find the information."

Prior to the acquisition, MediaTec's Human Capital Media Group portfolio included three print publications -- Chief Learning Officer, which focuses on learning and development; Diversity Executive, covering diversity and inclusion; and Talent Management, reporting strategies on planning and implementing a workforce that meets the company's overall goal. The publishing house also produces Certification Magazine, which is not a part of Human Capital Media and helps certified IT experts advance their careers.

Kamikow says, according to previously conducted readership studies, publications in the Human Capital Media Group typically only had around a 10 percent reader duplication rate with Workforce Management. That means 90 percent of MediaTec's recently acquired circulation is new. Additionally, when Workforce's 460,000-user database is combined with MediaTec's, the merged result will be a database featuring more than 600,000 human resource executives. Kamikow expectes revenue to jump 40 percent because of the deal.

"We were a very small publishing company, and now we're not quite as small," he said.

Mike Prokopeak, MediaTec's vice president and editorial director, told ABM he has been a big fan of the magazine and its editors for years, and is excited about the benefits of the deal.

"There are a lot of questions that we are going to be answered over the next few months about how it all works together,” said Prokopeak, “but there are a couple of things that will immediately that makes us better."

Among those improvements is expertise. While both groups cover the same niche, the Human Capital Media publications are experts on individual disciplines while Workforce has broad-based knowledge that "cuts through human resources on a more horizontal plane," said Prokopeak. MediaTec expects editorial and sales staff to continue to operate separately. Shared services will include production, circulation and events.

Launching media from events

MediaTec will also share some of its events strategies with Workforce. On Monday, the company will debut Human Capital Media TV (HCM-TV), a web portal featuring e-media content from, now, all four of its human capital publications. The launch is a direct spin-off of the company's event business.

"We've been hosting webinars for Chief Learning Officer for the past 10 years or so, and two years ago [MediaTec] started with virtual events," said Trey Smith, vice president of MediaTec's Human Capital Media Events Group. "So we've gotten our arms around this tool of presenting content online, whether it's a one-off webinar type event or a multi-day, multi-session like our virtual events. It seems now a lot of talk in the industry is about moving towards a new way of presenting it. Instead of positioning it as events -- one-off things that happen one day and are available on demand for X days -- we are presenting them more as programs. We'll have a guide of upcoming content, a guide of content that is available on demand, and people will be able to log in and view it at their leisure."

HMC-TV, created by webcasting platform INXPO, will be a "network hub," with each publication getting their own "channel." Content will include videos, case studies, best practices and webinars (Kamikow estimates the four publications produce 60 to 70 webinars per year). After registering, users will be able to access this content or sign up to receive a weekly digest that includes what new content has been added, what stations have been started, etc. The content will be original to the portal, although highlights might be posted on individual websites. Any content older than 90 days will continue to be accessible but lumped in an area called The Vault.

After acquiring a big brand like Workforce, MediaTec hopes this new "environment" will make it easier for all of its readers to access its content seamlessly. 

"Our goal in 2013 is to just absorb this acquisition," said Kamikow. "We're now dealing with four magazines that are leaders in what they do."

By Elizabeth A. Reid