From $65,000 to $370,000: A Little Insight Goes a Long Way
When Dennis Triola, a former group publisher with Primedia Business, joined Ascend Media as president of its Allied Healthcare Division in December 2005, the Internet was almost a non-entity for the group. In less than three months, Triola and his team have boosted e-revenue from $65,000 in 2005 to putting $370,000 on the books for 2006, all without flogging existing staff or requiring much additional investment.
Brought in to maintain profitability while driving new revenue (the Allied Healthcare division had stalled in revenue growth the last three years), Triola identified three areas of opportunity: online, custom, publishing and research. Online was the lowest hanging fruit according to Triola;of the group’s 15 magazines, three didn’t even have Web sites when he arrived and there was only one e-mail newsletter. The three holdouts are launching Web sites this week and the group has launched three newsletters, with another two will debut in April.
However, the real cash cow is a simple program called Expert Insight. Sponsorships are sold to industry experts who get a space on the Web sites where viewers can submit questions via e-mail. The group has sold 63 Expert Insights so far (contracts are typically $1,000 per month for a minimum of three months), generating $241,000 in new revenue. When a new series of experts goes online, they’re promoted by an ad in the Web site’s companion magazine. One Web site, which launched on March 7, has already sold 10 Expert Insights.
"It’s really kicked in," says Triola. "The sales team has done a terrific job, the editorial and art teams have all gotten on board. Everyone has to be part of this and the entire group has embraced these ideas. I’m not going to enjoy having my online budget over $1 million next year but it’s good-news, bad news. It will be nice having that extra revenue coming in."