IDG president Bob Carrigan advised publishers to experiment now, because "the days of 20 percent and 30 percent growth won't last forever," during a presentation sponsored by RMS called "The Roles of Online and Multimedia Content" at the Folio: Publishing Summit last month.
Carrigan said print brands play an important but changed role in a marketplace that has shrunk from 140,000 ad pages in tech magazines per year to 40,000 in 2006. "As tech publishers we experience this stuff first, and a lot of it may be coming to a theater near you," he said. "Our magazine brands are positioned to thrive, the challenge is not to lose the value of print in the transition."
Print has shrunk from more than 90 percent of IDG's revenue in the 1990s to just over 50 percent today, according to Carrigan, while real online revenues have eclipsed print losses (at presstime, IDG announced it was shuttering the print version of InfoWorld in favor on online-only.) Events, of which IDG did 65 last year, account for 13 percent of revenue.
IDG's Web revenue model is evolving beyond straight advertising. The IDG Web sites are generating 14,000 to 15,000 leads per month. "On some sites, 40 percent of revenue is coming not from advertising but from visitors signing up for things we sell and becoming leads."
IDG sees potential with online video and currently splits its efforts between inexpensive, guerrilla-style clips, such as editors shooting video from conferences, to partnerships with CNN to distribute much higher-end efforts.