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IDG: We’ll Be in Print ‘As Long as it Makes Sense’

A recap of day one at the FOLIO: Summit.

By Vanessa Voltolina

CHICAGO—The 2009 FOLIO: Growth Summit kicked off here Monday with a keynote from Source Media CEO Jim Malkin, who discussed why content—both print and online—can no longer be free, reasons to keep editors incentivized, and, of course, how monetization is the key to it all.

In a luncheon keynote, IDG CEO Bob Carrigan said his company looks at print as “profit generation.”

“We don’t subsidize or invest in it,” Carrigan said. “It gives us a great advantage as part of the entire package, and we are going to be in print as long as it makes sense.” Back in 2007, IDG decided to make its IT newsweekly title, InfoWorld, Web-only when the print publication was showing financial losses. "If it [print] doesn't make sense, we're not attached to it," he said.

Carrigan also described what he called the “Holy Grail” of online.
"When they find you through organic search—that’s the Holy Grail," Carrigan said. IDG’s strategy, which has featured digital as the main event in recent years, has changed from a revenue mix of 74/16/10 percent print/event/online in 2002 to a 38/20/42 percent last year.

Content is King

A large focus for both the large and small publisher tracks at this year’s summit was how content can be used as a lead generation tool and can drive an online audience. “If content is king, monetization is God,” said e.Republic CEO Dennis McKenna of his company's mantra.

Speaking to small publishers during a session entitled "The Role of Executive Leadership in Developing an E-Media Business Strategy," McKenna outlined the importance of publishers move from the role of an “infomediary” to a catalyst, particularly in the money-making potential of the digital space. The issue that most editors have in the developing this online space, he said, is that they “only value print reader, not the online reader."

McKenna said he anticipates the most important jobs in the future of media to be community organizers, content producers and strategists, search optimization wizards, and media integration officers.

The days of a traditional masthead of just editors and publishers are long over, he said.

By Vanessa Voltolina


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