If you follow the media industry, you know how much it has struggled to adapt its business model to the Web. But what’s not written about as frequently is how some media and publishing companies are using social software — one of the very technologies that disrupted the industry — to pursue new business opportunities and grow revenue.
That’s been the case at Meredith Corporation (here is our full case study we published today). Meredith counts 23 subscription-based publications in its portfolio, including Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal. With its various properties, Meredith serves a readership of nearly 75 million women.
Meredith has been using Socialtext to manage subscriber campaigns, respond to market changes, and ultimately drive profitability in its circulation. Meredith utilizes Socialtext Signals for microblogging to share and discuss new ideas, SocialCalc (a social spreadsheet) to manage subscriber campaign reports and online workspaces to collaborate more deeply on strategic marketing projects.
At Socialtext, we focus very heavily on the business value that social tools can generate for companies internally. As someone who cheerleads for media companies who work hard to adapt to market changes (I used to work for one), I was encouraged by Meredith’s strong results during the course of my research.
“Since Meredith began using Socialtext in the fall of 2008, its subscriber numbers bettered an industry that was in decline. According to the most recent State of the News Media report, the magazine industry’s paid subscriptions, which make up nearly 90 percent of magazines sold, declined 1.12 percent overall. Meredith, meanwhile, in the second quarter of fiscal 2010, increased its circulation revenue by nearly half a million dollars from the same period a year before.
In a disrupted industry where flat revenue or even light losses are viewed as an accomplishment, the increase wasn’t lost on Meredith’s investors when the company reported its financial results. In fact, the company reported that the “revenues, profit and related margin in Meredith’s circulation activities (that) increased in the second quarter of fiscal 2010 compared to the prior year (were) driven in part by efficiencies in subscription operations.”