Bobit Business Media CEO: “Last year was the worst year in our 49-year history.”
Even though the online experience is growing for our audiences, most of those people are older and continue to embrace print. Sure, over time things will change, but if we can keep our titles No. 1 in their markets, they should stay healthy for a good number of years to come.
Skodzinski: What are the company's biggest challenges?
Bobit: For the most part, we're in smaller niche segments, so getting the critical mass necessary for the Internet is difficult. We couldn't survive solely in a low CPM online world. We have to find ways to increase revenue in areas outside of advertising.
Skodzinski: Do you think the iPad is the answer to mobile magazines ... and/or that mobile/digital magazines are the future of the industry?
Bobit: I've been reading books on a Kindle for five years and love it, but never found the medium to be user-friendly for the non-book reading experience such as newspapers. The iPad brings in some great opportunities.
I don't think the answer is viewing a digital edition on these electronic devices, though. I like the kind of stuff Sports Illustrated is doing, but we don't want to put the cart before the horse. We monitor how our audiences receive their information, and we'll be ready for iPads when the time is right for us.
Skodzinski: Have you launched products in the mobile space? If so, can you give a couple of examples of what has been successful for you? If not, do you have plans to ... and why or why not?
Bobit: We haven't launched anything to date, but we're close to launching mobile apps in some of our markets. Since we're in fairly low-tech markets, we feel we can watch others in more sophisticated markets conduct the R&D. We're happy to learn from them.