CEO Perspective: Todd Krizelman
Todd Krizelman, CEO
252 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
What will the print-media industry experience in 2010?
The good news: selling ad pages in 2010 will be easier than 2009; there are fewer magazines competing against each other and the economy is stable. Some publishers smartly made investments and acquired (or launched) titles at discounted prices in 2009. These are often the same publishers that are better navigating the expansion of their business online. They bet on themselves succeeding.
The bad news: publishers serving debt will continue to feel pressure on margins and some will either restructure or cease publishing. Many publishers continue to push forward with the same strategy, hoping to ride the changes out in the market. This puts their franchises unnecessarily at risk and 2010 will not improve their fortunes.
Will this be a year of cost reduction or growth?
reduction will remain the more popular choice. Publishers donâ€™t have so
much cost left to reduce, so expect fewer large-scale labor reductions.
What one technology will be transformative?
The amount of noise around eReaders is deafening. Industry pundits suggest 10 million units will be sold in 2010. That would be a 10x increase from todayâ€™s installed base, and an ambitious forecast. I suspect this technology will be transformative, but over a much longer time horizon (5 years). No oneâ€™s sales are going up next year due to eReaders.
Will the Web be strategically central to the industry?
For most titles, I think it has to be central today. However, the web is not replacing print, but rather a compliment. The best publishers smartly package their content into print and online. They also use it to lower support costs and drive purchases of subscriptions and back issues.
What skills do publishers need to succeed in this era?
Publishers need to improve the part of their businesses that drives the most revenue: sales. Unlike production or circulation, sales organizations have have operated without significant change for more than a dozen years. Almost half of a sales repâ€™s time still goes to administrative tasks. And, there there is not enough effort prospecting for new business.
Is this a great time to be an entrepreneur in this business or a terrible one? Why?
Both! Market disruption creates openings for new entrants into a market. If you are selling digital editions or eReaders, this is your moment. However, recessions are also a time when all publishersâ€™ sales are down, and this recession is wors than most. Publishers are wary of making investments; some suffer from complete paralysis (the sort of grit-and-bear-it approach to management)