May 05 2008

Congratulations to IDG on achieving the cross-over

Published by at 8:44 am under Advertising,Journalism

Today’s NYT has a piece by Steve Lohr on the occasion of IDG (publisher of InfoWorld, PCWorld, CIO, etc.) achieving the vaunted print/online revenue crossover.

“In 2002, 86 percent of the revenue from I.D.G.’s publications came from print and 14 percent online. These days, 52 percent of the revenue is from online ads, while 48 percent is from the print side.”

I joined IDG for a brief period in 2005 to help with that transition, ultimately leaving at the end of the year to come to Lenovo. What I saw was a company in the throes of a difficult transition from decades of print excellence to the more ephemeral but pressing world of online news. Print and online dichotomies were tough, but in the end it was the red ink that pushed the print legacy to one side (InfoWorld went online only) and broke down the old artificial barriers between print and online editorial staffs.

Mike Friedenberg and Bob Carrigan were the two guys I worked most closely with, and both are prominently and deservedly called out in Lohr’s piece.

While publishing is not the profit engine of Pat McGovern’s empire (that honor falls to his venture capital operations), it is the flagship of the global brand, and seeing the transition occur, sooner than most traditional publishers, is a good sign for the future of a pretty beleaguered profession.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Congratulations to IDG on achieving the cross-over”

  1. Jim Forbeson 05 May 2008 at 9:41 am

    China was Pat’s big hope ten years ago. I wonder how they’re doing therenow, and whether or not China is conytibuting much to IDG’s top or bottom lines?

    Jim Forbes

  2. Aaron Pressmanon 05 May 2008 at 10:14 am

    I wonder how applicable the IDG Publishing model will turn out to be to media publishers generally. Most of IDG’s pubs are controller circulation meaning zero revenue from subscribers. Move ads from print to the web, cut costs to the bone and you show some profits (I can’t comment on what happened editorial quality, since I don’t read IDG’s pubs). Most publishers get at least a substantial chunk of revenue from subscribers. Move ads from print to the web, cut costs to the bone and lose a ton of money.

  3. David Churbuckon 05 May 2008 at 11:44 am

    China is a big part of IDG/IDC and is a very well regarded media brand within Chinese IT circles. IDG Ventures also made some very lucrative investments as well.

    Aaron — true, subscription revenue is negligible for most controlled circ B2B publishers — but I would argue that a paid pub — like BizWeek or Forbes — is not making much profit off of its subscriber base. Sure, the numbers might belie, for a cover price X circ calculation, about $74 million for a million circ, $75 per year sub. But … I think you’ll see a ton of those go away due to comarketing deals with Publishers Clearinghouse, giveaways, etc.

    Ads are where the money hunts and I don’t necessarily think its the publishers moving the dollars from paper to digital.

  4. Derek Slateron 05 May 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Another question is the cost of circ development & maintenance at a consumer title versus controlled circ. What’s it cost to maintain a rate base of 1,000,000 paying subscribers?

    – affiliated w/ IDG.

  5. [...] David Churbuck has a good take on what’s going on at I.D.G. on his blog. What I saw was a company in the throes of a difficult transition from decades of print excellence to the more ephemeral but pressing world of online news. Print and online dichotomies were tough, but in the end it was the red ink that pushed the print legacy to one side (InfoWorld went online only) and broke down the old artificial barriers between print and online editorial staffs. [...]

  6. Mark Cahillon 06 May 2008 at 9:15 am

    …And that’s the question everyone that most people miss about print decline – circulation dev and maintenance. The newspapers make a strong case that a lot of their circ declines have been intentional. As they became better able to data model their circulation model, they found a lot of areas where churn and acquisition costs made them unprofitable.

    I’d love to see the models for the controlled circ market as well.

  7. Chrison 06 May 2008 at 9:38 am

    Believe me, publishers with paid circ do not make any money of their subscriber file…most are struggling with how to minimize the losses while maintaining file size (i.e. readers).

    I spent 5 years at IDG in their Entertainment unit (left in 2004), so glad to see them turning the corner. They are still far behind other publishers who were either 100% digital or made the leap sooner, but this shows IDG is not done yet, congrats to them.

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