In advance of its Folio: Growth Summit, being held in Chicago June 16-17, Folio: conducted a brief spot survey with its audience to gauge publishers’ revenue mix, competitive outlook and growth prospects. While the pattern of priorities remains predictable—print is still currently the major revenue source with digital a primary focus—results show the next five years hold some dramatic changes.
Print is still the biggest revenue stream, gaining 68 percent of responses to the question "What best matches your current top producing revenue stream?" The closest runner up, at 11 percent, is digital. Events and circulation revenue follow at 7 and 9 percent, respectively.
That ratio, however, changes dramatically when asked what the top revenue stream will be in the next five years. Only 33 percent of respondents indicated print and 32 percent answered digital. Events jumped to 16 percent and circulation stayed put at 9 percent.
Five years is a very short period of time for such a dramatic shift in print and digital revenue streams. Accordingly, primary opportunities for growth in the next 12-18 months are centered on digital, with "Expand digital products and revenue" commanding 82 percent of responses. "Growing print advertising" only secured 37 percent of responses and "Launch events" and "Launch spinoff brands" figure heavily with 40 and 30 percent of responses.
Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated that a decline in advertising is the biggest threat in the next 12-18 months. Not far behind, however, are the 44 percent of respondents who say that the migration of customers and ad dollars to social platforms and other digital media are a primary threat.
Interestingly, just over a quarter of respondents indicate that "New traditional media" competition is a threat (26 percent) as is the need to find new, talented staff (28 percent).
Lastly, attitudes toward social media are a mixed bag. A quarter of respondents say that social is "nice, but a lot of effort for little payoff." Twenty-eight percent view it as "essential" to the growth of their business and, more generally, 56 percent say social is a "reflection of new ways communities interact, and therefore the future."
Only nine percent of respondents say social is an emerging new revenue stream.
For more information on the Folio: Growth Summit, and to register, visit Foliogrowthsummit.com.