Farm Journal Media: Behind Its Growth in Print, Digital, Events and More
Imagine a story of double-digit print revenue growth in 2010, a mid-recession year which no longer needs further explanation. Then imagine another 21 percent growth in the first 6 months of 2011. Add to that digital growth of 24 percent last year. For Farm Journal Media, this story does not have to be imagined; it's the company's reality.
Farm Journal has been envied for many years for its pioneering work in targeted, versioned print publications for various regional and niche audience segments. According to the company's website, it "was the first magazine to bind its issues electronically [in partnership with RR Donnelley], thus customizing magazines based on readers' crops, livestock, size and region. The May 1984 issue, for example, had 8,896 different versions."
It now has carried that targeting through to its digital efforts. It also has built an extensive television business serving the agricultural market, and expanded its "nice little" events business and continuing education programs into a $5 million growth area. But what CEO Andy Weber is most excited about this year is the company's new nonprofit foundation that aims to raise significant funds to fight world hunger.
Here, Weber, a former executive vice president of Reed Business Information, and a senior vice president with Chilton Co., talks about Farm Journal Media's fast-growing revenue segments, investment areas, challenges, best business decisions and more.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: What is Farm Journal Media fastest-growing revenue segment?
Andy Weber: Everything is growing fast, even print. Our print grew 23 percent last year, which matched overall company growth, and print will be up another 21 percent this year through 6 months. The fastest growth segment however is digital, which was up 24 percent last year, including a 36 percent increase in our Internet businesses and 16 percent increase in our TV business. Digital will be up about the same or slightly higher than print through 6 months of 2011.