At the beginning of the year, Modern Physician increased its frequency to twice a month. That decision was based on the fact that the magazine had enjoyed a solid year in 2000 with lots of advertisements and quality, timely articles that you told us are vital to your practice. More than 40% of the ads in the magazine were from dot-com companies, and almost overnight those accounts disappeared from our pages.
In the past several months, hundreds of dot-coms have gone out of business; many others are struggling to survive. Coupled with this hit, a number of other companies that have advertised regularly in the magazine are sitting on their ad budgets until later this year. As a result of this double whammy, we made the painful decision to go back to our original monthly frequency. It is a business decision based on the economics of publishing. Paper, printing and postage costs have risen dramatically in recent years, and publishers work hard to keep costs in line, just like anyone running a business. It's as simple as that.
Publishing has a lot in common with healthcare. Lots of competition, lots of expenses, lots of opportunity and lots of pressure on the bottom line. Some industries, including healthcare, have turned to mergers in the hope they would bring about efficiencies and cost savings, but their disruption and pain sometimes take years to subside. Unfortunately, in too many cases, things don't work out well because the cultures are so different and the leadership drops the ball. What is evident in all industries is the need for quality leaders who enjoy the challenge and ambiguity of change.
That is where you come in.
I can assure you that we will continue to put out a magazine that meets the needs of the physician executive. All of the readership studies I have seen indicate that most of you read us more than ever before, and that is gratifying.
And we take seriously our mission to provide solid, timely information about the issues that are critical to you.
As a matter of fact, last month one of our reporters, Rebecca Lentz, received the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for her May 2000 story on the challenges facing medical groups in protecting the privacy of patient medical information under new HIPAA regulations. The Neal award is akin to winning a Pulitzer Prize in trade publishing. Becky was one of 23 Neal Award winners out of 1,170 entries. That should give you an idea of the kind of excellence offered by the experienced reporters who write for Modern Physician. They will continue that excellence.
The dynamics of healthcare make it imperative that we continue to publish this magazine for you. That's because physician executives will play such a critical role in the future. This great industry cries out for competent and entrepreneurial leaders.
That is why we will continue to give you the best news product money can buy. That is my promise to you and to all the others who read this magazine month in and month out.
My company, Crain Communications, has been a bastion of reporting excellence since its founding in 1913. Modern Physician is honored to continue that tradition of excellence for physician executives.
We will be there for you,
Charles S. Lauer