Tim Sullivan: Godengo
President and CEO | Godengo
I’m very optimistic about the magazine publishing industry for 2007. At Godengo, our focus is on local media. The majority of titles that we work with in that category have shown really strong revenue growth over the past few years, and we expect that trend to continue in 2007.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WILL BE THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR SEGMENT OF THE BUSINESS IN 2007?
Because regional publications have been doing so well, many have been slow to leverage the Internet as a revenue source and as a real growth engine for their business. We find that if publishers aren’t feeling the pressure of declining circulation or of softening print sales, they’re not focused on investing in the staff and technology required to monetize their content assets on the Web. We focus on the local media segment partly because we see a real need there and an opportunity to get those publishers up to speed.
Some local media publishers are quite advanced and doing well online. In the category on the whole, though, the Web hasn’t received the same focus as segments such as b-to-b or daily local newspapers.
HOW DO COMPANIES SUCH AS YOURS DEAL WITH THOSE ISSUES?
You have to bring solutions to the table as a trusted partner. It’s no longer enough to build a Web site for someone, submit it for a design award, and then move onto the next client. Ad dollars continue to shift online, and everybody wants to capitalize on that opportunity, drive more traffic to their site, and attract new readers. At Godengo, our software and services platform is designed specifically to address these issues for magazine publishers. And we continue to innovate, based on the latest trends in online publishing and on direct feedback from our publishing partners.
Certain technologies are easy to implement, but really managing the program and providing a meaningful experience for site visitors presents a completely different set of challenges. We provide complete solutions that make sense for the client’s particular business and offer specific services to fill in any gaps.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES FACING MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS?
The whole media landscape is changing in very fundamental ways and largely driven by digital media. Magazines must move beyond the 30-day publishing cycle and embrace the immediacy of the online medium. Service content, directories, blogs, user-generated content, videos…publishers can leverage technology to keep readers coming back to the Web site and, at the same time, introduce the brand to a new and younger readership.
Also, advertisers are hungry for digital media and will continue to spend a growing portion of the budget online. If a publisher isn’t providing a compelling cross-channel advertising opportunity, the advertiser will simply spend its dollars elsewhere.
WHERE DO YOU SEE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH?
We’re experiencing the evolution of magazines from print businesses to multi-channel media companies. Relative to television and print media, we are still in the early stages of interactive media and the opportunities are tremendous—both for our industry and for our publishing partners. I’m extremely excited about that.