Web Sitings: How Fader Media Is Offsetting Print-Revenue Decline
Print ad revenue is still in an alarming free-fall, and journalists are getting laid off three times faster than the rest of the workforce, according to Unity’s 2009 Layoff Tracker Report. The onus is on publishers to find new revenue streams, and a profitable Web strategy is central to continued survival. And while many print publishers have tried to replicate their print profitability online, few have succeeded to date—at least in a large way.
But Fader Media Inc. Executive Vice President and Group Publisher Andy Cohn says that while print revenue is down so far this year at his company, growth from the Web and events is making up for it.
What’s more, according to Cohn, the Web profitability is coming from good, old Web advertising—clickable ad banners and branded content—the same material so many publishers are having a hard time selling at decent rates. Further, TheFader.com traffic more than doubled from September ’08 to September ’09, while its revenue more than quadrupled.
So how are they doing it? Cohn let Publishing Executive in on the secrets to Fader’s online success.
“Traditional ad pages, while diminishing, still garner higher [cost per thousand] and value” than online ads, in the eyes of advertisers, says Cohn, echoing the experiences of most publishers. “This is still based on the conditioning of marketers, but it is changing, just not overnight. We deal with this revenue gap by creating nontraditional campaigns that cross all of our various platforms.”
Nontraditional is a phrase Cohn uses often, and it essentially means that TheFader.com and its menagerie of affiliated products—including XLR8R.com and its magazine, other unique music sites, and social networks like alternative music community The Tripwire—go beyond what can be done in print. It’s not, for example, putting video screens in magazine pages, one of many supposedly innovative tactics that Cohn dismisses as “gimmickry,” but providing advertisers with tactile opportunities to make a connection with Fader Media readers.