An analysis of the legs that support Florida Trend
Andy Corty, Publisher
Many state associations hold their annual conferences in early summer. As I made the rounds of several meetings — from college presidents in Fort Lauderdale to Florida bankers in Naples and then Leadership Florida near Sanibel — I asked about their various businesses and heard of incremental gains as the economy starts to recover.
Frequently this year I also was on the receiving end of the question: “How’s Florida Trend doing? Are you OK?” The inquiry was always posed in a positive sense, as executives with a statewide portfolio see the benefit of a magazine that focuses on Florida business. After all, we’re a far-flung state with 18 million-plus residents spread along the 833 long miles from Pensacola to Key West. And with its 150,000 monthly readers, Florida Trend is the only publication that knits together these state leaders.
So, let me answer the question publicly — Florida Trend is doing fine.
I understand why people are curious, with all the news about “restructuring” in the media. Broadcast TV networks have eliminated hundreds of journalists, many newspapers have pulled back, radio has consolidated and the Yellow Pages business appears headed for extinction. A longtime local business magazine in Tampa Bay recently ceased printing, and a Miami business publication converted to “pay to play.”
The old saw about magazines explains that they are supported like a three-legged stool — the editorial content brings in readers, the readers in turn attract advertisers, and the advertising dollars support the editorial content. Any broken leg topples the stool. So I’ll analyze Florida Trend leg by leg.
» Circulation: Monthly subscriptions are holding steady at around 52,000, and readership averages 150,000 executives/officials/leaders for each issue, the same as ever.
» Content: Florida Trend is lucky to have the same editor and art director — Mark Howard and Gary Bernloehr — for the past decade. They are winning buckets of prizes and just brought home the gold award as best regional business magazine in the nation. They keep Trend “on the news” with timely articles like last month’s fascinating look into hookah bars and an update on the oil spill, followed by this month’s feature on Florida’s top-rated employers.
» Advertising: Ad sales are holding up surprisingly well after a tough 2009. We are announcing more themes in advance of publication so advertisers can line up their messages with related content. And we offer sponsored reports if companies wish to tell their own stories. While our revenue has nudged down, we’ve found matching expense cuts without damaging the final product.
» Digital: There’s now an exciting fourth leg, namely digital media, where we’re pushing forward with FloridaTrend.com, which is reaching 75,000 unique visitors each month. Some 30,000 subscribe to our Daily Pulse digest of the state’s most important economic and political news. Growth in web traffic has been impressive — and is ripe for further expansion.
We recognize that a publication can only serve its readers and advertisers if it remains a viable business. And we certainly welcome your support — as subscribers, as sources for news articles and as advertisers — because working with Florida Trend is an investment in the Florida business community.
Thanks for asking.
New Year’s Resolution Update: Finding it harder to stay on task, so only a measly four gym sessions, but I dropped another 3 pounds for total loss of 14 pounds year-to-date.
— Andy Corty