You Want a Publishing Success Story? Here It Is
Dwell Media President and Publisher Michela O'Connor Abrams shares insights behind the company's cross-media evolution.January 27, 2011 By Noelle Skodzinski
Publishing Executive readers continually say they want more success stories. Well, here's one worth dwelling on. San Francisco Bay Area-based modern-design and architecture magazine Dwell launched just 10 years ago and has continued to blossom into the epitome of a truly integrated media company, with a successful print story amidst many other flourishing products and divisions that now reach an audience of more than 2 million.
While its print revenue has, over the past few years, comprised a decreasing percentage of the company's overall revenue, this is more due to growth in other areas than any print shortfall. In fact, Dwell magazine continues to have "strong" newsstand sales, including top-ranking category sales at retailers. It also has what Dwell Media LLC President and Publisher Michela O'Connor Abrams describes as "one of the few profitable circulation stories" in its market segment.
But in addition to maintaining its print strength, Dwell Media has been launching new digital products, including mobile apps and webinars, pushing its in-person event to the top of its industry, and it even created a Dwell Homes Collection, which manufactures and sells homes.
Here, O'Connor Abrams shares details behind Dwell's decade of growth, its strongest growth and investment areas, her own best business decision of the past year, and much more.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: What is Dwell Media's fastest-growing revenue segment?
Michela O'Connor Abrams: It would be a toss up between Dwell Digital (dwell.com, dwell iPad apps and Dwell mobile) and Dwell on Design (the second-largest design event in the nation), because they are both experiencing double-digit growth.
Skodzinski: What is the company's largest revenue segment?
O'Connor Abrams: Print is 58 percent of Dwell Media's revenue. Three years ago this number was 90 percent. The other branded platforms have grown that much since 2007, and I expect that we will end 2011 with print still above 50 percent because of the strength of Dwell Magazine.
Skodzinski: What percentage of your revenue is driven by newsstand sales, and how have your newsstand sales fared during the past two years? To what do you attribute this?