For over four decades we’ve had print blood running through the veins of the corporate body. But over the last few years we’ve seen dramatic change. Today the absolute dollar growth of our online revenues now exceeds the decline in our print revenues. This occurred in the US in 2006 and in Europe during the last quarter.
With this change in the revenue mix and the higher margins from our online businesses - the company is more profitably today than it has been previously.
IDG, where I’ve spent the last 14 years of my career, is a media company, delivering information on the information technology industry – from the Enterprise with B2B brands such as Computerworld, CIO, Infoworld and Networkworld to the Consumer Technology segment with brands such as PCWorld, Macworld and GamePro.
In the US, our online revenue now accounts for over 35% of our total US publishing revenues. Next year, for many brands online revenues will be greater than print revenues, if fact they already are at some of our key brands and by 2009 – approximately 50% of IDG’s US revenues will come from online.
To drive this change and to focus on online revenue we’ve changed the business mission of our organization away from print. Going forward IDG Communications will define itself as a web centric information company complemented by expos, events and print publications.
The brutal reality that we’re facing today is the costly process of dismantling and replacing legacy operations and cultures and business models with ones with new and yet to be fully proven business models. However, we face greater risks if we don’t transform our organization and take some chances.
In the past media organizations controlled content and pushed it out to subscribers, today’s media has to deal with a world of social connections, networking and collective actions enabled by the Internet.
The more enlightened in our media world will figure how to allow their audiences freedom to create and share their knowledge and content and to mash it up in a way that engages users.
We have to become facilitators as much as content creators – our brands are trusted, they have quality content and loyal audiences – these are our competitive advantages but we’ll only hold onto those assets if we truly listen to our communities and provide appropriate environments for user initiated conversations and user created content
Figuring out the transformation from print to online is only the start. The information we produce, facilitate and aggregate increasingly will be viewed on a number of screens - the Computer, the TV, the smart mobile phone, the iPod and other portable entertainment devices. Many of these screens are more suited to video and audio than text. Even more new skills for our organization to master!
We’re in an exciting growth industry. Let’s shake off the image of being in a beleaguered print industry and seize the opportunities afforded to us by the digital revolution.