Online Publishing’s Gaping Profit Margins

See how one magazine’s website is set to out-earn its print counterpart.

Publishers seeking a successful transition from print to online should consider the Computerworld example. Computerworld may have began as a print magazine, but its websites’ explosive growth is set to make it the big-earner for International Data Corporation, Computerworld’s parent company.

Computerworld is published in 63 countries and its websites generate between 1.5 and 2 million unique users a month. With pre-tax online profit margins at an amazing 40 to 50 percent, Computerworld’s websites are far more profitable than the print magazine that established the tech-news empire.

Advertisers and publishers across the industry are gravitating toward online advertising’s high profit margins, and it shows at Computerworld. Online revenue has almost tripled from about 11 percent of the magazine’s total in 2000 to about 30 percent today.

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Patrick J. McGovern, founder and chairman of IDG said he hopes to have online revenue up to 45 percent of Computerworld’s total by 2010—an over 400 percent increase in ten years. If that happens, Computerworld’s online revenue could surpass its print magazine’s, which is currently about 50 percent of Computerworld’s total.

These numbers are a wakeup call to any publisher working in print. To stay successful, print publishers need to make the transition from print to online publishing and to do so they need an effective online marketing strategy. It is the only way to capture online publishing’s extreme profitability and surging growth.

The ComputerWorld Mequoda Case Study explains how Computerworld’s online marketing strategy uses free email newsletters, varying content between website and print and other methods to set its website’s growth to a pace that will soon surpass its magazine. Any publisher hoping to do the same would do well to read it.

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