It’s 2017 and Davler Media just bought three print magazines. First launched in 1990, Metrosource is an upscale brand directed at professionals in the LGBTQ community. With editions in NYC and LA, as well as a national publication, Metrosource has a combined circulation of 235,000 in print, which is also where most of its revenues come from.
So why buy a niche brand like this in a market that’s moving away from tactile media products?
Folio: sat down with Davler CEO David Miller, and Rob Davis, longtime owner of the magazine and now its publisher, to find out what’s in store for the magazine.
Folio: Rob, why was now a good time to sell Metrosource?
Rob Davis: In these days of increasing desire by advertisers to go digital with their advertising buys, we really had been looking for a partner that could help us branch out in the digital world, and who had larger resources than what we were able to do as a smaller, independent company. This partnership is something that helps us go much further than we could go on our own.
Folio: What did Davler see in Metrosource as a publication?
David Miller: We have four other divisions [tourism, parenting, design, and bar/bat mitzvahs] and the commonality in all of them is that our media is almost exclusive New York focused, though not 100 percent. One of the nice things about Metrosource is that it does branch us out beyond New York, but it’s strong in New York.
All of our properties take an integrated approach — print, digital, and events — to provide consumers a targeted information source…The beauty of it is that it delivers a very efficient vehicle for our advertisers to reach those markets. They can buy an integrated program.
So, the LGBTQ community has some common attributes to that. This is a community, the data shows, that has a real interest in doing business with companies that are sensitive and support the LGBTQ community.
One of the things about Metrosource that we really liked is that over the years, Rob has built a really strong directory component in the back. So it really is a way for readers and consumers to find doctors, and wedding venues, or gyms that really serve that community. In that regard, it’s very consistent with all of our other media and a perfect fit.
Folio: Does Metrosource have any events?
Miller: Rob has done events. He’s taken a year or two off but we’re planning to bring them back.
Folio: So is print advertising the main revenue source at Metrosource?
Miller: At the moment, yes. It’s almost exclusively print.
Davis: When I started Metrosource, there were no publications geared toward the LGBTQ community that weren’t sexually explicit. I saw this incredible need for people in our community — professionals — who were looking for something else. Our first issue came out in 1990 and it was just overwhelmingly embraced by the local market. It became a great opportunity for national advertisers to finally come into a publication where they could show their support of the gay market and be proud of the content that they were next to. That just didn’t exist prior to the first issue of Metrosource.
We realized there was a real need and desire for the rest of the country to get the same type of content…So 10 years after Metrosource began, we launched our national edition, and then in 2004, I went to Los Angeles to get Metrosource LA off the ground. We’re the number one print publication in those two markets among any media, regional or national.
Where we’ve fallen short is in digital, so we’re really positioned in the acquisition by Davler to become the number one player across the board in the LGBTQ space.
Folio: How has your advertising been affected since LGBTQ coverage has become more mainstream? Has that affected your revenues at all?
Davis: Because of the niche, there are so many companies that want to reach this audience. You’re right in that it’s become more and more accepted among mainstream advertisers; and they had really limited options of the places they could go into.
All of the hype in the news about gay rights, gay marriage — it’s been a very big topic — that has brought some advertisers out of the woodwork. We’re poised even more so with the Trump administration. We’re a vehicle to embrace diversity, so companies that are looking to show their support are interested more than ever in these more upscale publications.
Folio: Is Davler looking to expand across the country with any other publications, now that you have an LA and a national magazine?
Miller: The answer is, probably not in print. We are looking to diversify our digital properties and bring them into other markets. Not necessarily in the LGBTQ space, but in some of our other businesses.
Folio: What are your digital ad products? What’s available to marketers?
Miller: The biggest one — we recently made another acquisition of a business called Mommybites. It’s folded into our Parenting division. It’s basically a job board online for nannys, babysitters and moms that are looking for jobs. That’s already a national property as well, but not from the job board standpoint. We distribute national content and hold national education events. Now we’re looking to take our job boards and role that out nationally. That’s the one that’s furthest along in development.
Folio: As you move your focus toward digital assets, what role do you see print having in the next 10, 20 years?
Miller: That’s a hard one. Right now I can say that all of our print media are reasonably stable, and I think they’re reasonably stable because we’re very niche, we’re very targeted, and we still give people useful information in a print format that is digestible and helpful. Are things shifting digitally? Of course they are.
I can’t tell you what 10 years looks like, but hopefully I’ll be a grandfather.