Brian Morrissey, who previously ran Digiday, takes a look at the success of Industry Dive in the wake of its $525 million acquisition by Informa.
Morrissey writes, “What Industry Dive built over a decade — 26 focused publications in 23 industry segments, over $100 million in revenue and nicely profitable — should be a new model for an army of clones, after it inked a deal to sell to events giant Informa for an enterprise value of $525 million. At a time when it can seem most publishing ventures don’t make money, Industry Dive regularly returned healthy profit margins while scaling to top $100 million in annual revenue. I’ve admired Industry Dive for years and had Sean Griffey, one of the company’s founders and the CEO, on first the Digiday Podcast in 2018 and The Rebooting Show earlier this year.
“Here’s some of the reasons I see for Industry Dive’s breakaway success:
“Keep it simple. I first started digging deeply into Industry Dive when we decided to expand from Digiday into new areas. I was impressed how Industry Dive was able to occupy so many business verticals, only I didn’t like how it took somewhat of a conveyor belt approaches to the brands. I was reminded of the Yahoo approach of stamping out verticals as Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Personals, Yahoo Jobs and so forth. As a “content guy,” my inclination was to create a differentiated product that would appeal to the contours of the specific industry. It’s why we created a separate brand for fashion and beauty in Glossy instead of turning to Digiday Fashion.
“But every choice has a cost. Industry Dive chose the power of simplicity. Simple models and simple constructs are more efficient. They’re more efficient for people internally and externally to understand, and they’re more efficient to run. At one point, we had multiple content management system implementations across three tiny brands and syndicating content from one brand to another meant copying and pasting. Keeping a simple brand architecture and simple tech stack has downside risk of commoditization and blandness, but the upside is evident.”
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