Farm Journal Media: Behind Its Growth in Print, Digital, Events and More
Weber: The entire company revolves around this database and how we use it to target our audience with content, advertising and solicitations. As a profit center, our Database Services division has been through a total rebuild. We lost more than half of our business in the first half of the last decade because the business was an opportunistic business built around several large turnkey data management clients. We've now regained most of those revenues with a broader base of products and clients, and it's a nicely profitable business.
Skodzinski: You produce a number of events, including "colleges," such as Farm Journal Wheat College. Can you explain what the "college" events are, as well as what percent of your revenue events contribute? Is this a growth area for you?
Weber: Well, this all sprung from our Corn College—including our new television program "Corn College TV"—which was the brainchild of our head of content development and our staff agronomist who started our own, unique test plots nearly 20 years ago. We began monetizing this by building a facility right in the middle of the plots and then providing continuing agronomic education to farmers. The "colleges" now number 15 events, and we have two different geographical facilities. Events and continuing education are a big growth area. Five or six years ago, it was a nice little business of line extensions for us; now it's a $5 million strategic growth area.
Skodzinski: What are other significant revenue drivers?
Weber: Two things come to mind that are directly related. We have a prolific multimedia content team that works extremely well together, and provides a number of broad and deep content platforms that give us unique offerings in the market. Right now, our industry advocacy programs made possible by this team and our brand strength are some of our biggest revenue drivers.