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BizReport : Internet : March 20, 2007

Publishers aren't profiting from online operations

Out of 350 international newspaper and magazine executives gathered in Hannover, Germany, for a media conference, only one was able to claim making a profit from their online operations.

by Helen Leggatt

Furthermore, despite investments totalling millions in marketing dollars, only a handful of the industry players present could claim more than 3 percent of their sales came from online.

Meredith Corp., which runs over thirty websites related to their print publications such as Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, was the only publisher to profit from the move to digital, reports the IHT. According to William Kerr, Meredith’s chairman, the profits aren’t coming from the sale of digital content but from web advertising and subscription referrals.

Many of the publishing executives concluded that while profits were currently lacking, their web presence was important. "There is no question that online sales are part of the future," said Philippe Hautrive, executive at French publishers Hachette. "The only question is how big a part they will be."

Had the newspaper and magazine industry embraced the internet a little earlier, instead of burying their heads in the sand and misjudging its influence, they may well have captured more of the online audience. As it is, newcomers have cornered a market where talent is cheap and plentiful, and ad rates are lower whereas traditional media still carries the baggage of centuries of protocol.

Tags: magazines, newspapers, print publications, publishers

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