Prioritizing the Next Stage of Publishing
CEO, Farm Journal Media
Farm Journal Media, which serves the agricultural market, has long been known for its pioneering efforts to serve niche audiences within its business-to-business segment, such as creating targeted versions of print publications. In addition to a strong presence in print and digital media, the company has recently branched out into events and continuing education programs.
PE: In what key new directions are you looking to take your company?
Andy Weber: We're an enigma in that our print revenues have grown by over 20 percent in the last two years and are actually higher than they were 10 years ago. That said, print advertising is now only 35 percent of our business versus 65 percent 10 years ago. The Internet has certainly grown rapidly, but not at the expense of our print revenues, and we're now deriving a ton of revenue from our audiences via continuing-education events.
'Adapt or die' is a phrase I learned … from one of my group publishers in a previous life in the mid '90s, when he was trying to introduce the Internet to his group. He held his annual sales meeting at a resort in Death Valley as a backdrop. There's a certain cornered-animal mentality to our creativity. We'll have grown organically by nearly 50 percent in three years by the end of 2012, and we don't see that organic growth curve changing. We are not typical in publishing—we've tapped into significant corporate affairs and investor relations budgets. We've tapped into government grants and relationships with NGOs for custom publishing. Internet mainstream buttons and banner advertising matured in our business before it ever hit critical mass, so now we're well ahead in mobile, which is a lifeline for our audience. We've started a nonprofit foundation that will need us to furnish a lot of core agronomic and business education to third-world agricultural economies in the future. We're out of the box.