At American Business Media, we recognized a tremendous industry change back in the late 1990s: a shift away from ‘traditional’ trade press. To reflect the transition, we developed a five-year strategic plan which included a name change from American Business Press (which it had been since 1906) to American Business Media in order to reflect the multiplicity of business information delivery platforms. These platforms were in print, but also included online and face-to-face. Of late, our Association is looking at business models which are less dependent upon advertising revenues.
In today’s environment, the magazine continues to be a major part of what we do, depending on the company’s size and the industry it covers. It can range from 60% of the revenue base to as little as 10%. On average, for ABM members, it’s just under 40%. Face-to-face ranges anywhere from 25-40%, depending once again on the company’s industry silo. Finally, digital, which is really driving all of this, is currently at 15% on average for our members, but growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 20%.
In recognition of this change, ABM has established a Digital Media Council, with a mission to enhance the knowledge and best practices of leading digital media companies. Among the Council's goals and objectives are to support sales and research efforts to bring advertising revenues to digital media, as well as to develop brand extensions for digital media. Of course, we can’t forget that audience measurement—regardless of the type of media—is integral to success. Media auditing is not just for print, but should be applied across all delivery platforms.