Farm Journal Media: Behind Its Growth in Print, Digital, Events and More
Skodzinski: Where do you see that figure in two years? Five?
Weber: Trending the same—probably 23 percent to 24 percent in two years and maybe 35 percent in five years. Acquisitions obviously can change all of the above ratios. For example, we just bought into the largest mobile marketing business in agriculture.
Skodzinski: You have several television broadcast components to your brands, such as "AgDay," which I believe is the nation's longest-running daily syndicated news program focused on agriculture and rural America. How has broadcast contributed to your brands and your bottom line? Is this an area in which you are expanding?
Weber: Actually, AgDay is the second-longest syndicated daily program in all of television, and we bought the weekly "U.S. Farm Report" from Tribune Co. in 2005, which is 35 years old. TV is a fixed-cost business, so the margins can swing wildly. This threw me for a loop 10 years ago when I came to Farm Journal; unlike print, where you can cut cost by book size, etc., we were still committed to producing 312 original shows per year on TV.
TV is one of Farm Journal Media's best stories. It contributes something no other competitor can match—but the cool part of the story is that I was treating this as a totally mature business five years ago; and our TV team proved me wrong and totally reinvented their business. Now we have five shows, producing over 400 original shows per year, and our video capability online is extraordinary.
Skodzinski: You have focused on building a significant database of some 450,000 active agricultural producers. How has this played a role in your business? Is it primarily a lead-generation tool? Or, how do you use it to serve your audience of marketers, and how has it contributed to your bottom line?