CEO Perspective: Michael Biggerstaff
Michael Biggerstaff, CEO
480 New Holland Ave.
Lancaster, PA 17602
What will the print-media industry experience in 2010? Will this be a year of cost reduction or growth?
Probably like everyone else, weâ€™re looking forward to 2010. 2009 was a challenging year for all of us, one full of difficult choices requiring tough decisions. We truly believe, however, that whatâ€™s left now is to move forward with more focused, efficient partners. I think most of the costs reductions are done, which means itâ€™s time to look at top line growth once again. This time around, however, I expect weâ€™ll all be keeping our hand on the pulse of the bottom line while weâ€™re pushing revenues.
What one technology will be transformative?
Weâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again: there is no one transformative
technology on the horizon. There is no white horse thatâ€™s going to save publishing. Whatâ€™s going to save publishers is taking a hard look at all of the available technologies and asking which of these will resonate most with their audiences. From that point, it becomes a question of deciding what you can do yourself and what you can afford to outsource in the name of making a good ROI for advertisers and engaging experiences for readers.
Will the Web be strategically central to the industry?
I think in many ways, the Web already is at the center of what most of us are doing, but this doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s the most important thingâ€”only that this is where itâ€™s positioned. A wheel is as pointless without its rim as it is without its hub. Many publishers make the mistake of thinking that the central positioning of the website means thatâ€™s where all of their attention should be. Websites, thus far, have proven to be miserable revenue generators and awful at holding reader engagement, yet theyâ€™re still the logical place to promote more profitable extensions like digital magazines and tradeshows.
What skills do publishers need to succeed in this era?
Because there are so many ways to use technology, publishers today have to be able to look beyond the â€śshininessâ€ť of the new stuff to see exactly what your particular audience cares about. Even if everyoneâ€™s talking about Twitter, if your readers donâ€™t care, you need to have the courage to ignore it. Once you know whatâ€™s important for your audience, you need to find the professionals who can develop the tools your audience wants to see from you.
Is this a great time to be an entrepreneur in this business or a terrible one? Why?
Anytime is a great time to be an Entrepreneur. A true entrepreneur sees opportunity no matter what the business climate. Entrepreneurs are not swayed by the news or economic forecasts. They are driven by their own belief in themselves to execute on their dream and do their best to be successful. So yes, it is a good time, in tough economic times great businesses are built. There is always a need for good ideas and if you have one you can have a great business. People that use excuses to not follow a dream or passion are really just not entrepreneurial at heart.