June 12, 2015 Last Updated 2:41 pm

Iconic McGraw-Hill B2B brands, Engineering News-Record, ArchRecord sold to BNP Media

Titles were part of the sale of McGraw-Hill’s Construction group, which also includes the Dodge data products, sold to the PE firm Symphony Technology Group last year

The 110+ year old construction title Engineering News-Record, along with Architectural Record and SNAP have been sold to Troy, Michigan based BNP Media.

ENR_15-300The titles are moving from Dodge Data & Analytics LLC, a new company established when McGraw-Hill sold its Construction group to the private equity company Symphony Technology Group in September of last year.

McGraw-Hill had, then, changed its name to McGraw-Hill Financial to better reflect is focus on the financial industry. The company had been a leader in B2B publishing for over a century, being founded by James H. McGraw in 1888. In 1909 McGraw teamed up with John A. Hill, the owner of The Hill Publishing Company, to form The McGraw-Hill Book Company, which then morphed into The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc.

“This transaction signals Dodge’s focus on our core business: providing information, intelligence, and data-driven insights to empower our customers in the construction industry,” Mike Petrullo, CEO of Dodge Data & Analytics said in the sale announcement. “ENR and Architectural Record, both published for over 100 years, have a long, storied history of journalistic excellence and leadership in the marketplace, and we wish them continued success under BNP’s stewardship.”

Dodge was represented by the M&A firm The Jordan, Edmiston Group.

This is a big purchase for BNP Media, which a decade ago acquired a handful of titles from Reed Business Information (then still Cahners) when that company was forced to sell off magazines following the disasterous purchase of eLogic. That sell-off probably signalled the beginning of the end for Reed Elsevier as a serious player in the U.S. B2B media market.

ENR was created through the merging of two industry magazines. The first launched as The Engineer and Surveyor in 1874 and went through several name changes before becoming Engineering News. The second launched as The Plumber and Sanitary Engineer, with it changing names several times before becoming Engineering Record.

SNAP-coverIn 1917, Engineering News merged with Engineering Record to become Engineering News-Record. The magazine has been the leading engineering and construction news magazine ever since, and in contrast to its competitors is both a paid circulation magazine and a weekly. Most of its competitors are monthlies with qualified circulations.

Today the magazine shows an audited circulation of 62,285 in its last publisher’s statement, 47,812 of which is paid. In 2004, the title was able to show 71,142 paid.

Architectural Record was launched in 1891 by Clinton W. Sweet, who soon formed a partnership with Frederick Warren Dodge. The Sweet’s Catalog, a catalog of architectural products, and Architectural Record became part of F. W. Dodge Corporation in 1912. That company was acquired by McGraw-Hill in 1961.

ArchRecord, as it is known, has occasionally been the industry’s number one title. But in the nineties it had fallen on hard times, becoming the number three magazine behind VNU’s ARCHITECTURE, and Penton’s Progressive Architecture. VNU at the time had the agreement with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to be the official magazine of the association, meaning the magazine mailed each month to members. But when the contract was set to expire, McGraw-Hill, understanding the value of the arrangement, swooped in to become the official magazine of the AIA starting in 1997.

That move meant ArchRecord went from the number 3 book to the number 1 title. VNU, seeing a danger, bought Progressive Architecture from Penton and immediately shut it down. That only helped somewhat, and in 2006 VNU announced that it had sold two magazines, ARCHITECTURE and ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING. In 2011, Hanley-Wood wrestled the “official magazine” agreement away from McGraw-Hill, effectively meaning ArchRecord would once again no longer be the industry’s leading B2B title.

ArchRecord in its last publisher’s statement shows a total circulation of 92,678, about half of which is paid.

SNAP, the third product part of this acquisition, is the bi-monthly print product associated with Sweet’s (it stands for Sweets News and Products)

In BNP Media’s announcement of the acquisition they mention that that the company would “expand its Troy workforce to support the acquisitions.”

Update: I left off the usual disclosures from this article, which are… I used to work as a publisher inside McGraw-Hill’s Construction group way back when. My boss’s boss was the publisher of ENR (great guy, Howard Mager). Many years later I also spoke to BNP as part of the divestiture of RBI titles. Also, an earlier version of this story stated that the two magazines sold are no longer AAM audited. In fact they still are being audited (they just aren’t listed under magazines for some reason) This allowed me to add in the circulation figures.

  • thomas smith 1 year ago

    If my memory is correct Time Inc owned two architecture magazines. Not sure of the titles but they might have been Architecture Digest and Architecture Forum.

    As an old man (72) its sad to see the changes in publishing. I know that things change but magazines reading can be such a pleasure.