In addition to Penton Media folding 123-year old American Printer magazine, Penton’s PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converter) is also ceasing publication with its August issue (September editorial content will be posted to the website before the digital products fold as well).
Founded in 1927 as The Envelope Industry before taking on the Paper, Film & Foil Converter brand in 1953, PFFC targeted converting and package-printing professionals. PFFC won the 2008 "Publication of the Year" award from Printer’s National Environmental Assistance center for its "Green Converting" issue in September 2007. Read the farewell note from editorial director Yolanda Simonsis here.
"These had become very small businesses for Penton, obviously as a function of the markets they happened to be in," Penton senior vice president of strategy & development Warren Bimblick tells FOLIO:. "For a period of 18 months or so, we’ve looked at all sorts of revenue models to reinvigorate these products but it got to the point where we realized there really was no model. They were not tied to other products such as tradeshows or robust data services where you can say, ‘Gee, the print product may be soft but it’s a supporting part of a bigger brand.’ The reality was we tried as hard as we could but if you’re trying to grow the company you have to look at marginal products and refine the portfolio. The virtue of Penton is that we are highly diversified but sometimes diversification with small brands that don’t have a growth profile is a bad thing."
Bimblick says there is no set formula for Penton print brands and many of the titles are up in revenue this year. "We have 16 verticals and each has its own profile," Bimblick says. "Natural Products is primarily events, while Public Infrastructure is a mix of data, print and Web. It’s about looking at the market. We have print brands such as Registered Rep where print revenue is up almost 20 percent and digital is up almost as much as that, but they don’t have any tradeshows."
Print accounted for 45 percent of Penton’s total revenue last year according to Outsell, and Bimblick says in 2011 it will be slightly less than that, although he attributes the change to growth in digital, tradeshows and marketing services (Penton has made an aggressive push into marketing services this year with the acquisition of EyeTraffic and the formation of a Marketing Services Group). "Marketing services is big growth initiative for us, and although it is still relatively small, it should be fast growth as we ramp it up," says Bimblick.