February 24, 2016 Last Updated 1:22 pm

Survey of B2B publishers finds most looking elsewhere other than print for revenue growth

Survey of a sample of CEOs from Connectiv member companies sees future revenue growth coming from events, digital and other sources, while print will likely generate a smaller portion of overall revenue

The US trade association representing B2B publishers, now called Connectiv, has released a study conducted in cooperation with Readex Research. Unfortunately, the 2015 Business Information Survey only included 30 participants, all of whom are members of the association.

Nonetheless, I like any research related to magazine publishing because so little information is available today. It is as if we’ve entered a dark ages period, as few organizations want to provide unfiltered information about their members, what with ad pages and subscription levels declining.

Having said that, the data confirms the shift from print to other revenue streams, including digital and events.


Source: 2015 Business Information Survey, Connectiv – The Business Information Association

“As the business information landscape evolves in the next five years, the ways in which money will be made will change considerably with respect to print resources: a projected decline by 10 percentage points by 2020,” the authors of the report say. “All of the other revenue areas are expected to increase proportionately from current levels.”

“The B2B media and information industry’s continued investment in digital will impact millennials the most,” Mike Marchesano, managing director of Connectiv, said in the announcement for the study. “As companies transform to include more digital products and services, millennials with digital expertise are likely to see promising career opportunities.”

Those surveyed remain rather conservative in where they feel new digital revenue will come from, with 90 percent saying their websites, and 87 percent saying e-newsletters. These are the kinds of existing products most B2B publishers are already creating. The “Other” category is likely where more growth will actually occur as that includes custom media, webinars, digital events, mobile text marketing, online directories, training and workflow solutions.

Those company CEOs surveyed were asked what areas of their business they plan or continue to outsource in the coming year. Leading the way remains web design, with 42 percent saying this they’ll outsource their web development. To me, this seems like a disconnect: if most are leaning on the web to drive revenue in the future taking charge of this area of their business would seem a good idea. But it is also consistent with what I have found in my own B2B experience – most companies brought in outside help. This contrasts with the consumer side of the business, where most keep this function in-house, outsourcing only the software solutions.

Whether those surveyed were outsourcing their digital editions and mobile apps was not asked, a question that likely would lead to a finding that even more companies are outsourcing this area than even web design.

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