Bobit Business Media CEO: “Last year was the worst year in our 49-year history.”
Bobit Business Media will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in January 2011, no small feat in today's evolving publishing environment and onerous economic times. The company publishes 20 print magazines in the business-to-business space in automotive aftermarket, law enforcement and physical security, and beauty segments (such as Automotive Fleet—the company's first publication launched in 1961—Limousine, Charter and Tour, Modern Tire Dealer, Police, Nails and VietSalon). It also produces nearly 30 websites and 14 events, and as Ty Bobit, Bobit Business Media's president and CEO, explains, is " pretty much a typical b-to-b media company," focusing on print, -in-person and online methods to reach its audiences.
Also typical of many b-to-b companies is the uncertainty Bobit Business Media and its leader of 35 years faced during 2009 about the future of the industry and the company. This year, however, Bobit says things are looking up significantly financially, and the company has a better handle on where it's headed. It's investing in areas where it sees the most growth potential and is cautiously prepared to face impending changes in media consumption as they impact the markets the company serves.
Here, Bobit shares with Publishing Business Insider's special Executive Insights edition his concerns about challenges in print and events—though he expects print to "stay healthy for a good number of years to come"—and his outlook on the iPad, mobile content and his company's future in an increasingly integrated media world.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: What is Bobit Business Media's fastest-growing revenue segment?
Ty Bobit: Law enforcement has really taken off for us this year for both print and online.
Skodzinski: To what do you attribute that?
Bobit: One key factor was upgrading our staff. We took advantage of the chaos going on in media last year and universally tried to upgrade people where we could. It's making a big difference. We also developed a better online strategy for law enforcement that's been working incredibly well. We've tripled our revenue year-over-year.