“A lot of the brands we have purchased over the journey have been taking a digital-first approach. But we believe that the cut through on print is more valuable than ever. With this latest acquisition, our aim is to reinvigorate these brands by positioning digital as an add-on to the print assets. Part of a genuine multi-platform offering,” Prime Creative Media CEO John Murphy talks to TMSN about his plans for his 11 newly-acquired B2B media brands.
Prime Creative Media has acquired the Trader Industry group of titles from Are Media as of 1 July 2021. The sale will see 11 separate mastheads and digital platforms covering transport, civil construction and agriculture transferred to the Australian-owned B2B publisher, along with 42 staff members.
Prime Creative Media CEO John Murphy told the Targeted Media Services Network (TMSN) that he’d been after the titles for some time.
“This deal represents our third attempt to acquire these titles,” he said.
Murphy said that the acquisition was important to Prime for two reasons:
- He believes the titles will perform better under the management of a specialist B2B publisher with a multi-platform approach; and,
- The acquisition adds digital classifieds to Prime’s offering.
The acquired titles include:
- Owner Driver: Australia’s largest circulating monthly trucking magazine
- Deals on Wheels: a three-decade strong print and digital classifieds platform for used trucks, trailers, parts, accessories and more
- ATN: a leading source of intelligence for owners and managers of medium to large trucking businesses, delivered via a monthly print magazine and digital assets
- Australasian Bus & Coach: connecting Australasia’s bus and coach industry via a monthly print magazine for more than 30 years
- Farms & Farm Machinery: Australia’s biggest national farm machinery magazine, published 13 times a year
- Earthmovers & Excavators: the ultimate guide for those looking to buy and sell new and used earthmoving and civil construction machinery, published 13 times a year for the last three decades
- Plant & Equipment: a marketplace for those looking to buy and sell new and used industrial equipment, published 13 times a year as a dedicated self-covered section in every issue of Deals on Wheels, Earthmovers & Excavators and Farms & Farm Machinery magazines.
A strategic play for a new offering
The acquisition of Deals on Wheels, Earthmovers & Excavators and Plant & Equipment adds a new offering to Prime Creative Media’s stable – buying and selling via print and digital classified platforms.
“Working with dealers is new territory for us,” Murphy told TMSN. “It’s a strategic move for the company – we’ll take that newly acquired IP and knowledge and look to implement it across our other verticals.”
A new home with a dedicated B2B publisher
The deal represents a return to Australian media ownership for the first time since the magazines were sold by Packer’s ACP Magazines to German-owned Bauer Media in 2012. It also represents the third time the publications have been transacted over the last decade, and the first time that the titles will be owned by a dedicated B2B publisher since their inception.
“We’re different from the previous owners of these titles because our sole focus is industrial. We understand and value how important these publications are in serving their industries,” says Murphy.
Murphy plans to bolster the titles by bringing their publishing strategy more in-line with the techniques that Prime has found to be successful with their existing B2B brands.
“A lot of the brands we have purchased over the journey have been taking a digital-first approach. But we believe that the cut through on print is more valuable than ever. With this latest acquisition, our aim is to reinvigorate these brands by positioning digital as an add-on to the print assets. Part of a genuine multi-platform offering,” said Murphy.
“Far too many publications in this country are closing down, as they adopt digital-first strategies only to lose even more market share to Google and Facebook.
“We want to make sure that industry publications such as these remain to provide the valuable support and information that can only be delivered by an independent publisher truly aligned with the audiences they serve,” said Murphy.
“We’re ready to invest in the people and processes needed to make these brands the best they can be. By keeping Australian-owned publications alive, we can invest in quality journalists, and cover the important developments taking shape in these industries that play such a critical role in our economy.”
On the announcement of the acquisition, Are Media’s CEO Automotive Andrew Beecher said that Prime was an ideal new home for the titles, aligning well with Prime Creative Media’s efforts in supporting B2B media and these key Australian industries.
“We are so happy that these titles have found a home at Prime Creative Media,” he said. “Prime Creative Media has a proven history of investing in B2B mastheads for the long term, growing the products, the industries they serve, and the team along with them. They really are best placed to ensure that these mastheads not only survive in the market, but thrive.”
Managing competing titles
Over the past two decades, Prime Creative Media has acquired more than 20 mastheads and launched many others, covering major Australian industries including manufacturing, infrastructure, resources, education, transport, hospitality, waste and resource recovery, and more.
This latest deal sees Prime Creative Media move into two new industry segments – farm machinery and heavy equipment – and take on competitors to some existing titles.
The Owner Driver brand covers similar content to Big Rigs, which Prime recently acquired from News Corp. Similarly, ATN is in the same space as Prime’s Prime Mover and Diesel titles.
But Murphy says that Prime is familiar with managing “competitive tensions” between its brands.
“We feel that the titles have different offerings to their audiences. Historically, we feel that we’ve managed the competitive tensions well between similar brands such as our own Prime Mover and Diesel.
“We run similar titles as competitors to maintain their integrity. We don’t bundle advertising between brands – we feel that this devalues the service that we provide. Any synergies that we benefit from are found on the back-end systems and processes developed for our brands.”
Prime Creative Media and Are Media have already begun on the transfer, and will work together to ensure a smooth transition for their readers, clients, and team members.
The titles join Prime Creative Media’s stable of 80 B2B print and digital platforms. As a top employer of media professionals in Australia, Prime now employs more than 130 full-time, Australian-based journalists, editors, graphic designers, business development professionals, and an in-house IT development team.