May 2007 Issue


A Fresh Look at Buying Paper

Many publishers who lack significant staff expertise in paper purchasing tend to think they are incapable of buying and supplying paper. They think it is easier to let the printer supply it—and they may be right. Yet, they may be wrong. If you currently buy paper from your printer and have been wondering if it would be beneficial to supply it instead, the following will help you determine what is best for your organization. Who should supply paper? Determining whether you should supply your own paper depends on the amount of paper you use. In general, you need to use at least one

Ascent by Acquisition

Ascend Media’s success is almost inconceivable when you find out that the company is just four years old. In 2006, the company’s total revenue was approximately $120 million, compared with $25 million in 2003, the year it made its first acquisition. Ascend Media now produces 50 business-to-business magazines and journals, 70+ e-newsletters (a number that continues to grow with advertiser demand) and hosts 10 trade shows and conferences. The fact that the company now has 480 employees in seven locations, including corporate headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., is most impressive to the company founders. Cameron Bishop, president and CEO, and Ron Wall, executive

City and Regional Mags Still a Seller’s Market

Mergers and acquisitions activity remains lively throughout the media and information industry. The market maintained its brisk pace through the first quarter of 2007 according to the Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc., which reported 207 transactions valued at nearly $13 billion. Thirty-one of these transactions through March were in consumer and business-to-business magazines, six more than 2006’s first quarter. These magazine transactions resulted in about $1.5 billion, a significant increase over the categories’ $229 million through March of last year. The city and regional publishing segment was perhaps among the most active, suggests Kim Mac Leod, president of Norwalk, Conn.-based Regional Media Advisors, which is

Demystifying Databases

We build a marketing database or data warehouse for the main purpose of more efficiently and profitably servicing our customers and prospects today and in the future. When a publisher has many titles or products, both online and off, or is seeking to expand into new markets, having a data warehouse is a must. For example, a publisher of several titles that also produces conferences and offers special online content, such as webcasts or paid reports, must have a marketing database. Without it, a publisher would not know how to cross-sell the various titles or online products most effectively. The fulfillment files for each

Finding the Leaders

Bob Sacks’ column, “Where Are Today’s Mentors,” got me thinking. Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to have several mentors. In one job, I even had three mentors all at once. And I’m lucky enough to still have a few now. I tried to think back: Did these mentors step into the role, or did I make them my mentors by my interest in learning and attaching myself to the brightest minds I could? I think it’s a little of both. In order to be mentored, you really have to be eager to learn. And to be a mentor, you have to

Putting an Emphasis on Digital Media

Peggy Walker signed on with Vance Publishing in April 2005 as its vice president of custom media. Now president and COO, Walker is continuing the push to diversify Vance’s products, helping the magazine publisher—which publishes approximately 20 titles including Modern Salon, Renew, Dairy Herd Management, Furniture Style, Citrus and Vegetable—to expand beyond its roots as a business-to-business print publication company. In addition to Web products and e-newsletters, the company also has a custom publishing business, and offers research and marketing services. What’s the toughest challenge you’ve personally faced as the president of the company in the past year? Walker: Finding quality tech people

Should You Build Your Database In-house or Outsource It?

In determining if the database should be built in-house or outsourced, weigh the pros and cons of each for your particular situation. Pros to Building In-house: • Maintain control of database build • Current staff and hardware expenses can be allocated to database Cons to Building In-house: • Added work for an already busy IT department • Expertise for database build and maintenance may not exist in-house • No vendor experience to advise on

Sources of Profit From Your Database

Acquisition Efficiencies 1. For consumer magazines, determine the worst-performing ZIP codes for elimination. • Using ZIP-level data and house data driven down to a ZIP-code level, you can determine ZIP codes that should be eliminated from your outside list mailings at the merge/purge stage. 2. Using promotion-history data, and demographic/psychographic data for consumer magazines and D&B data for business publications, you can improve response. • Models can be built that utilize promotion-history data to help you increase your response rate after the merge/purge process. 3. With your new database, identify customers for

Squeeze More Revenue Out of Your Content

Publishers are developing online content fast. They’re also looking for ways to build new revenue from e-prints (electronic reprints) and licensing the rights to online content. “They’re realizing the growing need to service their reprint and permission customers directly off the Web,” says Dan Fineberg, director of marketing at Reprint Management Services, a reprint marketer and fulfillment manager in Lancaster, Pa. “Simply tagging online content isn’t enough to generate substantial reuse revenue.” With many options out there for services and solutions to help you maximize your reprints and content-licensing revenue, how do you find the best partner for this part of your business?

Tactics for Building Profitable Events

“No longer are they ancillary, they’re primary,” says Martha Schwartz, senior vice president, Custom Solutions Group, Ziff Davis Media. She’s talking about live events, and she can’t say enough about their brand- and profit-building abilities in the publishing world—and she isn’t the only one. Bob Cohen, publisher of LPI Media, refers to events as the future of profits in this business. As far as he’s concerned, publications can no longer thrive without sufficient face-to-face interaction. American Business Media recently reported that trade shows overtook print magazines as the business-to-business media industry’s top revenue-producer in 2006—a first for face-to-face events. Trade shows accounted for 36

The Top 10 Reasons We Fail

So why is it that many publishers fail in their attempt to tap the benefits of a data warehouse? There are many reasons, including: 1. Underestimating the time and resource commitment to build or maintain the database. 2. Not having the right support team in place once the database is delivered even if outsourced. 3. Not having a plan in place regarding how you will use the database once delivered and how you will quantify the benefits. 4. Inappropriate in scope—too broad or too narrow. 5. Not properly prioritizing deliverables—phased in approach. 6. Failure to shift the paradigm at the organization to an information-based

Where Are Today’s Mentors?

In this column I have pontificated many times about the positive nature and direction of our industry, about the belief that we are headed toward a new golden age of publishing, and that new technologies should be considered the friends of information distributors. But there is one aspect in this new world that has me worried. It is the area of mentorship where, it seems to me, we have fallen behind and, as an industry, we have been greatly diminished. What has happened? When and where did we lose the skill set and the will to teach the younglings? Have we so trimmed our business