Print isn't dying in B2B media; it's just taking a back seat.
While digital, data, and events will take a dominant role in the revenue mix for B2B media companies over the next five years, print will endure as a significant component in a multi-channel distribution plan, according to a new survey conducted by Connectiv.
"Our study gives a clear indication that the shift from print to digital will move into hyper-speed over he next few years," said Mike Marchesano, managing director of Connectiv, in a statement. "While print's share of overall revenue will shrink considerably, it is expected to remain a key part of companies' diverse product offerings."
In conjunction with Readex Research, Connectiv surveyed 30 CEOs of member B2B media organizations in October 2015, representing about 35 percent of Connectiv's overall membership, with an average of $43.8 million in annual revenues. The survey was designed to identify the current revenue mix at the respondents' companies and to learn where they are investing for the future.
Among the survey's findings is the conclusion that B2B media companies are already diversified; 90 percent of respondents claimed revenune from all five available categories: digital, marketing services, events, paid content/data, and print. Ninety-seven percent claimed revenue from digital resources, though it's perhaps most surprising that three percent did not.
That diversification will only continue in the future. When asked to describe both their current revenue mix and their predictions for 2020, print is expected to decline from an average of 28 percent currently to an average of 18 percent over the next five years. All other revenue sources are projected to increase significantly, most notably paid content/data (from 20 percent to 23 percent), digital (from 17 percent to 21 percent), and events (from 22 percent to 24 percent), all three of which are projected to surpass print by 2020.
Within paid content/data, research and paid information services were each cited as current revenue sources by 50 percent of respondents, followed by content licensing at 47 percent. Websites (90 percent) and e-newsletters (87 percent) were the most commonly named digital revenue sources, followed by lead-gen at 67 percent.
Among events, conferences were the most commonly cited revenue source, with 73 percent of companies surveyed. Trade shows (53 percent) and custom single-sponsor events (50 percent) came in second and third, respectively.
Finally, the survey asked participants where they'll be hiring in 2016. Exactly half of all respondents named data analysis as an area in which they will increase headcount this year, more than any other category. Sales (43 percent) was the second most commonly cited category, followed by development/programming, events, and marketing at 40 percent each. Areas projected for the most downsizing are operations and finance, followed by human resources.