Different Publisher, Same Purpose

While AutoBeat Daily may look different since MMS publisher Gardner Business Media acquired it, at its core, it's still the same automotive news digest used by readers around the world.


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It has been more than a year since Gardner Business Media, publisher of Modern Machine Shop, acquired the AutoBeat Group. Since January 2015, the group has merged into Gardner’s own media, Automotive Design & Production magazine and adandp.media, to form a new automotive group that includes Automotive Design & Production and AutoBeat Daily, an online news source for the automotive industry.

Although AutoBeat underwent an aesthetic overhaul after its acquisition by Gardner, the core content of the publication has remained largely the same. AutoBeat Daily was founded by Bill Hampton in 1999 as a news digest for upper-level management and Tier-One and Tier-Two suppliers in the automotive industry. The daily newsletter was originally distributed as a PDF email attachment, and it moved to an online format about six years ago.

The majority of AutoBeat’s content is behind a paywall, something that no other Gardner brand does, and can be accessed with a subscription. Many companies will purchase a group subscription to the site, enabling multiple individuals within the organization to view the content at one time. The main purpose of AutoBeat Daily is to filter through the multitude of news that is generated by the automotive industry on a daily basis and then present only that news which is important to its readers in a quick and succinct fashion. According to Mr. Hampton, who is currently editor-in-chief, that philosophy isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

“One editorial distinction I think is very important for AutoBeat Daily is that we monitor all credible news sources to get the content we present, and that isn’t exactly the way that anybody else works,” he says. “Most publications will present the world as their reporters see it, but we don’t care about that. We’re very diligent about acknowledging where information came from, but our philosophy is that the readers are a lot more interested in what’s going on than who discovered it. We kind of look at the industry from a hundred-thousand-foot perspective.”

AutoBeat’s commitment to digesting and communicating the daily news to its readers is a large part of the reason why the acquisition made sense for Gardner. Due to its different types of content, there was very little overlap between the audiences of Automotive Design & Production and the AutoBeat Group. According to Mike Vohland, publisher of AutoBeat Daily, Gardner hopes to ultimately expand the circulations for both publications with the acquisition.

“I’ve always felt that there’s an unlimited amount of potential for AutoBeat subscribers,” Mr. Vohland says. “One of the biggest things is that, yes, people who are truly in the automotive industry care about what is being written by AutoBeat. However, I think with Gardner’s vast network of brands, there are tens of thousands of potential subscribers.”  

The acquisition has also helped to reinforce Gardner’s position as a leading voice within the automotive industry. On October 12 and 13 in Dearborn, Michigan, AutoBeat Daily and Automotive Design & Production are hosting Automobility 2016, a conference where attendees can come together to discuss recent changes, and their various implications, in the automotive industry. The company also plans on expanding its Advanced Mobility Project, a website devoted entirely to news about forms of mobility, into an e-newsletter and a possible print supplement.

Ultimately, the brand has tried to stay true to its original values while still exploring the different options offered through Gardner’s network of resources. AutoBeat is aimed primarily at executives in the automotive industry, however, a lot of its content is useful to other individuals in manufacturing as well. Through the acquisition, AutoBeat Daily has been able to reach a wider audience that is already familiar with Gardner’s other brands while still sorting through and communicating only the most valuable daily automotive business news.