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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Industry Standard Europe folds
The last cover of Industry Standard Europe
By BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward

The downturn has claimed another victim.

The Industry Standard, the parish magazine of the electronic economy, is "suspending" its European edition and sacking 60 workers.

The final issue of the Industry Standard Europe went on sale today, barely six months after it was launched.

It is only the latest of a long line of magazines that flourished in the heyday of the net boom and now are starting to retrench as advertising revenue dries up.

Hurry up and close

It has often been said that on the internet time moves much faster than in the real world, something that the staff of the Industry Standard Europe (ISE) now know too well.

The ISE was launched in October last year at a swanky party held at Conran's Coq d'Argent restaurant in the city. Last week the US parent of the magazine announced it was looking for a buyer for the title and partner Pearson, which owns 2.5% of the parent company, was thought to be interested. At the same time publisher Neil Thackray confidently declared that the ISE would be profitable by the end of 2002.

But now up to 60 staff are being laid off the European edition is being "suspended". A skeleton staff of 10 is being kept on to feed European news to the US edition and its website.

The last edition
The Industry Standard and its regional editions flourished when dot.coms were flush with venture capital cash they could use to advertise and build their brand. Now as funds for start-ups dry up and technology firms struggle to make a profit much of that advertising revenue has dried up leaving many new economy publications struggling.

The Industry Standard was closely associated with the boom. The style with which it established its European operations, with a lavish head count and high editorial costs, was indicative of the confidence felt by many new economy firms. Now it is facing the harsh realities of the old economy.

"It's one of the painful ironies of business cycles that at high economic points, companies are often willing to overspend just to ensure they remain in the game," said editor-in-chief James Ledbetter in a valedictory editorial. "At shakier times, they will shy away from what they acknowledge to be good investments, just to insure against losses."

The US parent has already gone through two other bouts of cutbacks by axing some of its US titles and laying off marketing and conferencing staff from the US operation. Rival Red Herring and have shed staff and others such as Business 2.0 are looking for partners or buyers.

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See also:

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