Everyone knows the print media is in a world of hurt. The more difficult question is this: What do publishers do about it?
Technology publishing giant IDG just may have come up with one killer idea. And no, the answer does not involve scantily clad women or slide shows touting the best nude beaches.
For IDG, the publishers of hundreds of magazines such as PC World and Macworld, the answer was to go against one of the industry’s most sacred notions and create its own online advertising network–with a major twist. Instead of only selling ads for its own properties, IDG would take advantage of the media’s fragmentation and the shift to online advertising by selling ads for other new media properties. In addition, the network also helps IDG Web sites to grow their audience by syndicating their content across the Web to non-IDG properties. (BusinessWeek, for example, syndicates IDG content on its Web site.)
It’s a bold strategy that seems to be paying off. Peter Longo, CEO of IDG Syndication and Networks, says that its network is currently serving ads to a combined total 75 million unique monthly readers, up from 20 million 18 months ago when it launched the group. Currently, IDG works with about 200 Web sites, including GigaOm, Slashgear, and Xconomy.com. All told, those sites serve up nearly 750 million ad impressions per month. Revenue is forecast to grow 100% this year, says Longo. 20 syndication partners have signed on to the program as well.