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December 12, 2008

The end of media?

As newspapers fade quickly into the background and just about everyone baying almost gleefully for their blood. I thought it would be good to have a look at a success story from the Australian Media Industry.

Apermont is a company I have coveted for a long time. I am a shareholder there, and have been for a long time.  It is an industrial operation, with a focus on Mining, Construction, the markets surrounding commodity companies and a range of additional areas.

Although their share price doesn't indicate it, Apermont  has been able to maintain a steadily rising revenues starting at around AU $6,000,000 in 2005 and reaching AU $14,000,000 by 2008.

The company is a paper based publisher with their flagship product being their magazine Australia's Mining Monthly. But, unlike many others, they were able to develop a commercially viable online presence very early on.

Their online assets include a mixture of subscription and free news and opinion pieces. Very focused on delivering value to suppliers as well as to the people actually working in the industry.

After recent purchases in the UK, their revenues today stem from a mixture of advertising, online subscriptions, their magazine subscriptions, and a range of conference  events.

Although I am pretty sure that nobody realized it at the time. What their online sites actually have done is to give them permission to have an ongoing conversation with their customers all over the world. Combined with high class content on their subjects, gave them the credibility to offer additional products and services to their client base.

Are newspapers dead? Probably, if you read the media blogs  around the place you get a definite sense of panic from them. Magazines? Likewise, the death of Business 2.0  was a telling moment in time.

But are paper based publications still a valid part of the overall media mix? It seems so. Not everyone is online, not everyone is reading blogs, not everyone gets news in their feed reader. Many people still prefer to pick up a magazine and read through it.

Particularly when it is for niche areas.

For media types, this is a time for real innovation. For accepting that the old models are probably dead and for looking at how newer models can be integrated into the overall revenue stream.

Like Aspermont a focus on getting people together. Conferences, training and other pay-for-play services will make an interesting off-line addition as will using their news presence and distribution channels to sell audio content of one form or another.

Fascinating times...