Report: CRN to Shutter Print Magazine

The print versions of CRN and InformationWeek, two of the iconic tech media brands in the North America market, are reportedly slated for the cutting room floor, according to reports by Folio Magazine.

UBM, the parent company of the two magazines, is reportedly working on a restructuring that includes shutting down print magazine operations, laying off 100 to 300 editorial, sales and back office staff and consolidating offices.

Folio cited unnamed industry sources as the foundation of its report. In response to inquiries, UBM Tech Paul Miller described the report as “wildly inaccurate.” Officially, though, UBM spokespersons are neither confirming nor denying the report.

Eliminating the print versions of CRN and InformationWeek would come as no surprise, as many tech publishers either have or are preparing to exit print as more readers and marketers migrate to Web sites and mobile products. Ziff Davis Enterprise, now owned by Quinn Street, shuttered eWeek in 2010. TechTarget shut down its few print magazines in 2007. And IDG has consolidated many of its print properties.

CRN remains the market leader in North America media, with its 35-plus year history, but the magazine has seen better days. Over the last decade, CRN and its related properties have seen market share and revenues bleed away. In 2008, UBM’s channel group, then called “Everything Channel,” shuttered VARBusiness, which too was once a huge brand. Over the last five years, CRN and its related businesses have shed staff positions and products to remain viable.

While shutting down CRN is clearly a cost saving move, as printing, subscription management and circulation are hugely expensive. Unclear is what comes next. UBM is shifting toward a tech events company. The UBM channel group has spent much of the last five years trying to diversify beyond its core properties with mixed results. Last year, CRN launched an app for iPads, which had exclusive content reserved for paid subscribers – insiders say the program was a fiasco from the start and failed to achieve any operational or strategic goals.

CRN print may be struggling, but other UBM channel products remain strong. XChange, the group’s conference division, just wrapped its annual XChange Solution Provider event in Orlando, and its annual industry event in August remains the top channel conference of the year. CRN, the online property, remains the leading channel media site. And IPED (the Institute for Partner Education and Development) continues to support a number of vendors in channel research and development.

The Folio report said nothing about when these changes could come. Traditionally, UBM and subordinate divisions don’t execute layoffs until June.

CRN UK, the partner of The 2112 Group and Channelnomics in the United Kingdom, is not related to CRN in the U.S. and is owned by Incisive Media. CRN UK continues to publish a weekly print magazine.

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6 Responses to “Report: CRN to Shutter Print Magazine”

  • Joe Balsarotti:

    A shame, if true.

    I do not find reading articles on line to be as enjoyable, or easy on the eyes and rarely do more than skim online versions.

    Just because it’s easy and cheap doesn’t mean it is right.

    It’s no wonder trade journalism is in decline, it is simply too easy to hit ‘delete’ rather than read online and I’m sure the advertisers know that.

  • Traditional trade press is hard hit today. The new model is common community and the ASCII Group model is just that, really now for 29 years, but our model is growing rapidly owing to the nature of network effects which is scaled by the Internet revolution

  • Chris Phillips:

    Loved my 2 years at CMP/Everything Channel/UBM, but I never had to sell media/print. Doesn’t surprise me that the only thing that is going well is events. Face to face is where it’s at, and while the website ( is part of my daily read, I find this site, The Var Guy and a few others much more valuable and personable. While I know most of the CRN writers, I prefer the personalities that are injected into my preferred sites. Keep it up 2112!

  • Doug:

    Cutting print to this extent isn’t just cutting print. Most print content ends up online. Thus cutting “print” editorial is also cutting online editorial. We’ll see if these cuts are only related to mailing and distributing a magazine or will they be editors and writers whose content is a big part of those web sites. The way this company is pivoting towards events is enough to tell me where to bet my money (or where not to).

  • craig kensek:

    I would say that this is the end of an era, but as the article mentions, technical publications have been going belly up or migrating towards purely online status for the better part of a decade. Writers and contributors need(ed) to be compensated, somehow. Somehow, the ability to tear out an article and save it has a certain something that posting an electronic sticky note on a pdf or saving a link lacks.

  • Shame to see another stalwart of the media disappearing, but time to update. The app version of CRN was always problematic for me, and I never understood why the magazine wasn’t delivered in Newstand on iOS. What do I know.

    XChange continues to be a successful channel event, and IPED is a leader in channel research. The news organization is simply facing the same challenge most are — how to exist in a more online world.

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