Once upon a time, when marketers wanted Business News about Upstate, South Carolina they’d turn to the ½ page dedicated to it in The Greenville News.  Of course, on Sundays there was an entire 20 page section that included a feature story, 14 pages of Ads and the stock market weekly closing.

At that time, occasionally, WSPA-TV would run a business feature.   As Fox 21’s News dept. grew, covering local business wasn’t a major part of its growth plan.   WYFF-TV, the “Greenville” station generally limited business coverage to when one happened to burn down or a German Automobile manufacturer decreed it would be the savior of the former Textile town.  Oh, and the ABC affiliate for the nation’s 32nd  largest market, well they are still trying to find anything South of Hendersonville on the map.

Then came Greenville Magazine.  In the late ‘90s Gary Ault partnered with Joe Erwin to provide a monthly magazine with a focus on the business world.  Unlike a daily that could bring “news” it originally provided some great feature stories.  In fact, having a business magazine at all was a sign that Greenville (and the Upstate) was growing up.

With (some degree of ) success, comes competition.  The GSA Journal appeared weekly in tabloid format (not content).  While it had the opportunity with its publication frequency to take over the Business news in the area, the ‘Business” section never grew and it remains a generalist tome.

Meanwhile the Greenville News bulked up its business coverage, standardized columns, enhanced its coverage of the market and added national business news.  Unfortunately, by the time they approached a qualitative product people stopped reading the daily newspaper.

With Greenville Magazine’s initial financial soundness, its ownership group invested and expanded into other Publication ventures ranging from a statewide monthly to Special Project publications.   One even involved publication partnership with businesswoman Vivian Wong to be distributed in China.

Competition grew with the arrival of the GSABusiness Journal. Its strength and market penetration kept the (other) Journal from growing its business, it pushed Greenville Magazine back to being an all things to all people publication.  Unlike some of the other newspapers and  magazines, under the direction of Laurie Coons the GSA Business Journal staff kept a strong separation of editorial and advertising.

The merry-go-round of who is where and doing what continues.  Peachtree Media that was run by Paul Gessimondo was in partnership with the original Greenville Magazine ownership group on several ventures eventually took over Greenville Magazine.   An ownership change at GSA Business Journal cleaned house with several of the people who made that successful going over to Greenville Magazine.   However, the downturn in the economy mandated Peachtree brining in new financing and that publication is now owned by Jordan Finn of Indexx printing.

GSA Business Journal is now one of three regional business journals serving South Carolina and is owned by the Charleston Post Dispatch.  Along with sister regionals in Columbia in Charleston this group also publishes the Quarterly (down from bi-monthly) SC Biz Magazine as well as a statewide and regional daily dotcoms.

Along comes a new player called “The Black Box” which is a business monthly also having an on-line component brought to you by Geoff Wasserman and his team at Showcase Marketing.  Will it emerge as the new dominant force in Upstate business news?  Will Greenville Magazine’s combination of new money and old publishing strength prevail?  Or will the GSA Business Journal, now headed by the former publisher of the Charleston Business Journal deliver a knockout punch to old and new competitors?

Advertisers are lining up.  Publishers are hoping those same folks lining up will soon place their bets!   And here at the CarolinaMarketer.com clubhouse we’re just making some extra room in the magazine racks.

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