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Byte to cease publication

The print edition of the 23-year-old computing magazine, which has some 500,000 subscribers, will cease publication after the July issue.

The print edition of Byte magazine, the 23-year-old computing magazine with an estimated 500,000 subscribers, will cease publication after the July issue, according to both a taped message at the magazine's office and an editorial staffer.

It is another example of consolidation in the computer PC magazine business brought on by declining ad revenue, in some cases, as well as competition from online publications.

Byte currently repurposes its print articles for the Web, but the fate of the online component of the magazine now is unclear.

A spokesman for CMP Media, which is buying the magazine from McGraw-Hill, could not be reached for comment, but a recorded voice-mail message for one editorial staffer at Byte's Lexington, Massachusetts, office said: "Byte magazine's last issue in print will be the July issue...The last day for business here in the Lexington office will be May 29." The message said to direct any questions to CMP.

Another editorial worker at the magazine said that an effort is underway to "bring Byte back [with a] new focus," and said that eleven employees of other CMP publications are dedicated to the effort. But in the meantime, he said, some 74 employees are being laid off, a decision he learned of only yesterday.

As for any online strategy for Byte, he said, "It's still up in the air."

Byte magazine is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, with offices in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and San Mateo, California.

McGraw-Hill sold its Information Technology and Communications Group to CMP Media on May 5 for $28.6 million. At the time, the deal was expected to close within 30 days.

The sale included the magazines Byte, Data Communications, LAN Times, and tele.com, as well as the testing business NSTL, formerly known as National Software Testing Labs.

CMP, which launched an initial public offering last year, stopped publishing NetGuide magazine in July 1997. Since then, CMP also has sold its HomePC magazine to Imagine Media, which continues to publish it.

Byte is not alone among media properties that have been consolidated in the publishing business. Not all being closed, however. Many simply are changing owners. Among the examples:

•  Just two weeks ago, Mecklermedia bought One, a company that organizes the ISPCON trade shows and prints Boardwatch magazine, in a cash and stock deal worth $29.5 million.

•  Earlier this month, Wired magazine said it was being sold to Advance Magazine Publications' Condé Nast Publications unit.

•  Times Mirror's magazine division also said in March that it bought Internet media and marketing company InterZine Productions for an undisclosed price.

•  Publication of The Web magazine was suspended in February, but the magazine's Web site is still up and running.