The Source of Integrated Growth
Source Interlink President Chris Argentieri shares strategies for evolving into a profitable integrated media company.March 1, 2012 By Noelle Skodzinski
Chris Argentieri was put in charge of the country’s largest special-interest media company, Source Interlink Media (SIM), in 2010. His new role as president held him responsible for 78 publications, 101 websites, 800 branded products and more than 50 annual events. In all, the publications generate 7 million paid subscriptions and 2 million single-copy purchases. With publications such as Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, Hot Rod, Off-Road, Motorcycle Cruiser, Surfing, Skateboarder and Home Theater, among others, the company reaches one of the largest groups of the highly coveted 18- to 34-year-old male demographic.
Like most publishing companies today, SIM has been striving to evolve into a full-blown integrated media company, and Argentieri believes part of the company’s significant success in this area is the result of its early investment into emerging media—including developing an in-house group that manages mobile and tablet development, marketing and more for all the company’s brands. Its acquisition of Automotive.com added Web expertise, and its acquisition of Mind Over Eye established strong digital marketing capabilities. In February, the company launched its Motor Trend YouTube Channel, building on the six-year success of the company’s own ad-supported Motor Trend channel, which has drawn more than 153,000 (free) subscribers and 147-million-plus video views.
Here, Argentieri talks about SIM’s fastest-growing revenue segments, strategies for maximizing the company’s print and digital growth, SIM’s biggest opportunities and challenges, and where it is investing most heavily.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: What is SIM’s fastest-growing revenue segment?
Chris Argentieri: Our digital business—so the web, but also now tablet, social media, video. We’ve grown consistently about 20 percent each year over the past 3 or 4 years. More importantly, we now earn more profit from our digital business than any other line of business—print, events, etc.
Skodzinski: To what do you attribute that?
Argentieri: It really traces back to the acquisition of Automotive.com in early 2000s. That acquisition brought us true digital talent, so we weren’t just a bunch of magazine folks tripping around the Web. We had legitimate digital engineers who grew up online and put us in a much different position than a lot of our competitors.