3 Questions for Summit Business Media’s New CEO
So rather than having this big substitution effect where print is declining and people are moving dollars out of print into online, our customers are still advertising in print, and then adding online on top of that.
But we’re in a slow-grow mode right now, and that will continue. I don’t see things turning around for quite a while. For the prior 20+ years of my career, I was focused on the banking industry, so I’ve seen the cycles and we’re in the middle of a bad credit crunch right now. Access to debt capital is limited. We’re private equity backed, and private equity is all about leverage, so it certainly slows any private equity business down a bit in terms of its ability to acquire. And we’re not immune from that, so we’re going to take a pause here, I think, over the next few months. We may do one or two small deals, but nothing major for the rest of 2008.
Inbox: What is your greatest challenge going forward as the president and CEO of a major b-to-b media company?
Goodenough: I think probably No. 1, short-term, is making sure that we properly orchestrate all of the products and brands we have. … [In certain sectors] we have four to six magazines, we have six or eight Web sites, we sell marketing data from several different sources. We have half a dozen or so live events. We have 50 or so reference products. So how do you coordinate all of these so that they make sense to the market. And how do we internally make sure that we still have a healthy dose of internal competition without beating ourselves up here.
We have just enormously strong market positions, and that was my original view of Summit. That we would be concentrated in this insurance/financial/professional services markets, and not be serving a multiplicity of unconnected markets. But we go very deep in the markets, so we’re not all about advertising. We’re about these other product sets as well, so I think we’re very diversified in terms of revenues.