By Erin Joyce
You might say he saw it coming. Jack Myers, chief executive and founder of the media research firm Myers Reports Corp., is closing the New York-based company after laying off essential staff throughout the past few weeks.
“We’re winding down some products and eliminating several lines in order to focus on other areas of business,” Myers told atNewYork.com. “We’ll continue to deliver all of our products and fulfill all our commitments. There’s no financial issue that’s driving this.”
No financial issue, perhaps, beyond the lousy outlook for ad spending and a glut of media research firms whose products have reached commodity status in the marketplace. In that environment, Myers said he is returning to the firm’s early roots, focusing on more specialized research on a consulting basis.
“We’ll continue to publish our newsletter,” Myers said. As of Monday, the newsletter carries the Jack Myers moniker to reflect that Myers, instead of staff, is writing the newsletter.
“We’ll continue to host forums, but (we’re) focusing the company toward personal relationships with me and my clients.”
The change brings the firm full circle in a way. Caught up in the dot-com mania of the late 1990s, it kept adding more research products, only to find itself one of many outfits competing to offer similar products when the tech sell-off and dot-com implosion hit the media world and companies built around it.
“I spent the past three years moving my product much more toward a publishing model and an Internet model. Now, frankly I’m moving back toward what I had several years ago,” he said, including a business-to-business focus while syndicating the research he’ll be working to produce himself.
The wind-down follows a steady spate of layoffs at the well-known research firm. For weeks, Myers had been letting clients know that a shift in structure was in the works. As of today, the first day of the fourth quarter, the change is official. A skeleton crew is running the consultancy while winding down the prior business.
The news also follows Myers’ own predictions on a gloomy media outlook, made more stark in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
“The factors that are driving down the media economy are unchanging,” he told Media Life magazine in an interview published on its Web site September 20th. “There’s continued growth in supply. But there are no apparent sources for increased demand; there are no major categories emerging.”
The view was slightly contrarian to the report Myers had released in February suggesting that fear of a sustained recession in the media industry was the result of “overly aggressive and misinformed press reports.”
Myers said he would continue his commenting gig with TechTV.