For nearly 20 years, the Stagnito family has been a fixture of mid-sized b-to-b publishing. They’ve also launched two startups in the middle of two different recessions. In 1990, the first version of Stagnito Media debuted. Over the next seven years the company grew rapidly, largely through small, distressed acquisitions which it then turned around, reaching about $10 million in total revenue. In 1997, Stagnito sold to Jack Hennessy, who owned Medical World, which was financed by Great Hill Partners.
Under Medical World, Stagnito flourished, more than doubling its revenue. Founder Harry Stagnito rose to publishing director. Then in 2005, Medical World sold to Ascend Media, where it became Ascend Professional Services Division, accounting for about 25 percent of the company’s revenue. By 2007, however, Ascend, which was one of the first publishers to fall prey to the financial crisis, put Stagnito on the block. Rather than go to a private equity firm, the group was sold to a strategic competitor (BNP Media), and the Stagnitos found themselves on the outside looking in.
This article presents the separate paths Harry and son Korry took, including the ways they are approaching the market and the different opportunities they see for growth.
We also look at how two other publishers are not just launching new products but re-inventing those brands. One, part of one of the largest consumer magazine publishers, revived the mission of a defunct magazine with a hybrid b-to-b/consumer approach that targets two separate audiences, with early success. The other is an entrepreneur bootstrapping the launch of a targeted Web site, with plans to follow up with a print magazine, all self-funded.