CEO | Renaissance Publishing
Nearly wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, the publisher of New Orleans considered closing until three employeesâ€”chief executive officer Todd Matherne, executive vice president and director of sales Kelley Faucheux and editor-in-chief Errol Labordeâ€”bought out the publishing assets and renamed it Renaissance Publishing. Today, theyâ€™re launching new products and developing a multi-faceted strategy including print, online and custom.
In April, Renaissance will launch Gulf Coast Wine + Dine. The publisher teamed with a noted food and wine radio host to serve as lead editor, while existing Renaissance staff will support. The magazine will publish twice per year to start. â€śThatâ€™s how we launched New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles,â€ť says Matherne. â€śWe started twice, then four times, then six, and kept growing. If we can get between $60,000 and $80,000 in the first issue, weâ€™d be ecstatic.â€ť
Renaissance is also investing $100,000 in the launch of a new Web portal, MyNewOrleans.com, which will repackage print content as well as generate original online content, including a series of blogs looking at shopping, bars, fine dining and weddings.
Renaissance is prioritizing sponsorships over banners and sells sponsorships around newsletters, including one that leads up to Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras.
â€śWeâ€™ve never made money on the Web,â€ť says Matherne. â€śWe were at the point where we were either in it or out of it. If we break even on the Web, Iâ€™ll be happy. Iâ€™d love to do hard news and business news but thatâ€™s not how weâ€™re set up right now. Thatâ€™s phase two.â€ť
Custom publishing kept Renaissance alive in the early days and new opportunities such as publishing directories for the Home Show at the New Orleans Superdome continue to drive the business beyond its core books.
To save, Renaissance postponed a much-needed office move. â€śWe didnâ€™t want to take on any debt,â€ť says Matherne. â€śWeâ€™re not taking income from the business as owners. What weâ€™re making we put into it. Weâ€™re still about three years into getting back to pre-Katrina levels.â€ť
Renaissance posted top line growth of 12 percent last year, generating almost $4.5 million. Matherne hopes to break $5 million in 2009. â€śFebruary is our toughest month across the board,â€ť says Matherne. â€śItâ€™s still tough this year but itâ€™s better than last year.â€ť
Where They Will Grow: Goal is to break $5 million in 2009, driven by print and custom publishing.
Where They Will Save: Renaissance postponed a much-needed office move to avoid taking on debt.
Quote: â€śWeâ€™ve never made money on the Web. If we make $100,000 to cover costs, Iâ€™ll be happy.â€ť
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