InPublishing survey: ‘Behind the turnover figures, the industry is essentially still in profit’

The publishing industry is in ‘remarkably robust’ health, according to a new survey of 187 companies – encompassing 911 consumer magazines, 855 B2B magazines and newsletters, 413 newspapers (both regional and national) and a total of 1,056 individual websites.

The survey, which was a joint project between Wide Area, Wessenden Marketing and InPublishing magazine, suggests a slide rather than plunge in industry turnover – partly a result of ‘headcount reduction and ruthless cost control, where marketing budgets in particular have suffered’.

“Online growth is clearly outstripping print revenue trends; circulation revenues are performing better than advertising sales; and subscription sales better than retail copy sales. ‘Other revenues’ (which include reader offers, events & services, as well as contract publishing) are showing medium growth, behind online, but ahead of print revenue streams,” the survey suggests.

This is an extensive piece of work, well worth a read (you’ll need to register), and includes sub-sections dealing with:
Online opportunities and threats
Website profitability and costs
How publishers are planning to ‘manage the future’

Some key findings from the report are below:

  • 59 per cent of those surveyed have under 10 per cent of their turnover coming from online/digital activities;
  • Online revenue streams are showing the most growth with paid-for online content, classified online and display advertising ranking above print revenue streams;
  • 20 per cent of publishers surveyed are looking to grow staff numbers, while 54 per cent will hold steady;
  • Online, the highest threat publishers are facing is a lack of resources/focus/knowledge e.g. not having the skills in-house to adapt to new technologies or resources to develop online offerings;
  • Cutting costs and overheads and developing more innovative, multimedia advertising strategies are seen as the most critical tasks for publishers going forward.

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