Last week we launched the Anthill Editors’ Blog (I assume you know this because you are now reading it).
Our motivations are fairly obvious. This space will give Paul Ryan (Editor), me and the rest of the Anthill editorial crew a space to share some of the more topical events, news and opinions that come our way – things that would otherwise never be published due to the restrictions of print publishing. In short, we’re doing exactly what our readers have asked, embracing both print and web, providing content to match the medium.
And what a start!
Our first post, “Who wants to help Anthill buy The Bulletin”, not only generated a quick burst of priceless comments but it also had the office phones ringing off the hook and our staff inboxes brimming with emails from enthusiastic and curious Anthillians wondering whether we are serious. Friday disappeared in a blur.
So are we serious?
Firstly, allow me to respond to some of the comments.
Yes, our analysis was simplistic and, it seems, fairly optimistic. Our figures were derived using the ancient entrepreneurial art of table-napkin mathematics – a great place to start, before the serious analysis. What did surprise us was the extreme swing in the other direction regarding The Bulletin’s potential for revenue generation. David’s rough analysis (post 6) was intriguing, particularly since David obviously works in publishing. His analysis was pessimistic but potentially realistic. However, I think we would both agree that room still exists for a profit.
Observations that “print media is not dead” were very much appreciated and, ultimately, reassuring. In fact, as production costs for print magazines fall (better design software, cheaper print solutions, financially viable recycled paper), I expect to see a magazine renaissance. MagNation has already opened two stores in Australia and one in New Zealand catering for the trans-Tasman hunger for magazines.
Chris from post 7 suggested a “crowd fund”. What a great idea! It is definitely worth considering. Someone also noted the need for liquidity. While The Bulletin on its own wouldn’t generate enough revenue to make it a realistic prospect for an ASX listing, there are alternatives, such as the National Stock Exchange (NSX). I’m curious to hear from anyone who has used this secondary exchange and whether it would be suitable.
Some very astute remarks were made about competing with ACP’s distribution clout (post 19) and the impact that third party distributors have on cashflow (post 30). These are, in fact, issues that we already face at Anthill and have found ways to overcome (not without frustration and hardship). What both comments drew to my mind was the strength ACP has when it wishes to market a new product, across multiple mediums, using its deep pockets. Yet, the advantage of purchase is that The Bulletin has already acquired market awareness and retail channels that could be replicated with the right distributor.
Speaking of the market… It was mentioned by Robyn (post 10) that The Bulletin’s readership is largely in the over 50 segment and that ACP allegedly regarded this as a problem. What can I say? Over 50s represent more than 30 percent of the working population and they don’t intend to retire anytime soon. What a great target audience! This group will, over time, adopt consulting jobs, part-time employment and a range new work structures providing greater leisure time to do things like… read! And besides, why not balance that with editorial and marketing activities to catch Generation Y members as they are finding their own brand loyalties, as Robyn suggested. It’s already part of Anthill’s long-term strategy.
Finally, Michael makes the important observation (post 35) that there’s no point pursuing an acquisition of The Bulletin if a market doesn’t exist for the product. My initial reaction was that a 57,000 circulation qualifies as a significant and attractive market (in fact, a 30,000 circulation qualifies as significant and attractive market for a business magazine in Australia). But if all these readers are purchasing their copies for nostalgic reasons or in response to some feeling of obligation, then that market is artificial. The challenge would be to create a ‘new’ Bulletin magazine that would reflect the times, without losing its intrinsic value – the qualities it has become widely respect for (relevant, intelligent, timely and, most importantly, engaging stories). That, in my opinion, would be the main challenge for any potential suitor.
So, were we serious? Of course, we’d love to add The Bulletin to the Anthill stable (who wouldn’t). But we’ve yet to receive that special call from the teak desks at CVC (and I suspect that we might be waiting a long time).
We were sent the contact details of the person we should be approaching (thanks to one of our many clever and connected readers!). So, we’ll be making that call in the week ahead and we’ll keep you posted (wish me luck).
Also, we’ve noticed links to our story appearing in other blogs. The blogosphere responds. This is particularly energising (if you have a blog, we welcome your support). If we can get enough tongues wagging, who knows what attention might come our way.
But don’t fret. We won’t let such ambitious distractions undermine our endeavours to keep Anthill fun, exciting, educational and inspirational. Our Feb/Mar edition will be out next week, with a feature on how computer games are evolving from products of leisure into business tools. Of course, Stephen Sammartino returns with another eyeball popping angle (“What Your Business Can Learn from Terrorists!”). Plus, much more.
Keep watching the BlogHill, as we’ll be adding additional “Opinion” blogs by our featured authors to complement the Editor’s Blog (check out the Blogroll to the right of this post). The good folk at TrickyTix have already started the ball rolling with the launch of “Diary of an Entrepreneur”. This blog is dedicated to the growth pains of this internet start-up, warts and all.
So, any advice on how to improve our blogs? Any tips on how to knock down the doors at ACP? Any angles or identities you’d like to see on our pages? Any responses to my comments above. We’re listening. 🙂