Surviving and Thriving in the Digital Media Era

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It would seem that the evolution of technology has helped each industry flourish in profit, expansion of reach and ease of conducting business. 

Unfortunately, for the publication industry, it did the opposite.

With the convenient access to instant news, newspaper printers took a large hit when readers no longer found purchasing a daily paper necessary. When the concept of eReaders was introduced, publishing companies saw sales of physical books and magazines decline

Yet, there is a silver lining. 

Publishing companies can take control of the technology that hurt their business and capitalize on the new revenue opportunities available.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Even though the Internet and eReaders affected the sales of physical newspapers, books and magazines, publishers can still develop a mutualistic relationship with this “new” technology.

By utilizing eReaders like Nooks, iPads and Kindles, publishers can expanded the reach to their target audience. For example, a consumer may reside in California but enjoy reading the Boston Globe daily.  Purchasing a print copy would be difficult but downloading it every morning takes less than a minute. 

Allowing readers to access your publication expands the geographical presence and awareness a publication has as well as brand loyalty.

Adopting eReader capability can also help smaller publishers eliminate overhead by decreasing their inventory and shipping costs as well as lower the economic barrier to enter the market. 

Social Media

When consumers like something, whether it’s food, movies, video games or something else, they tell their friends and share on social media. 

 By engaging in digital printing, publishers can also take part in the social media phenomenon of sharing. 

National Geographic, for example, expanded beyond their print magazines and moved into social media. Today, NatGeo has the most popular magazine social media account with over 67 million likes and followers.

Even though having millions of followers on Facebook doesn’t directly influence generated revenue, it does build brand awareness and loyalty with consumers, which in turn helps create sales leads. 

Reader Subscriptions

Another revenue opportunity a publisher can take advantage of is requiring readers to subscribe for access to online publications. 

Subscriptions offer multiple benefits to publishers such as regular occasions to cross sell or upsell. If a consumer enjoys reading what is published on your site, they are more than likely open to “buy” more from your publication. 

With subscriptions, publishers also have the ability to employ decoy pricing.  Decoy pricing is a change in perception when different prices are put side to side to interact with one another, thus making the more expensive option less intimidating. 

This pricing model helps deflect attention to price increases as well. Research found that 70% of buyers are driven to purchasing more when the concept of decoy pricing is in place.  

Licensing Work

Falling underneath subscriptions, licensing work is another way publishers can benefit. Previously published work is a goldmine of licensing revenue. 

The idea of licensing written work is not a new thing, but is has only truly been utilized in the education industry. For example, Harvard Business Publishing requires student and instructors to purchase the rights to use their case studies for only a limited amount of time. 

As a great amount of online content is developed daily, the opportunity to generate revenue from past work is increasing. Publishers can license article, case studies, images, videos, and infographics. 

Advertising is Bigger Than Ever

Selling ads is still source of revenue for print publications, but it has become even bigger for online outlets. 

Within the last decade, print publications saw a loss of $40 billion in ad revenue, whereas digital ad revenue grew 18% of about $50.18 billion in 2014 alone. 

The concept of digital advertising is quite similar to that of print advertising: the better the position, the more it costs. Instead of selling half-page ads, publisher can sell ad banners, sponsorship opportunities, or overlay ads, which require readers to click off the ad. 

Mobile Advertising

As we mentioned in our Top eCommerce Trends blog, 64% of American consumers own a smartphone. In 2014, consumers spent an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes per day on their mobile phones. 

By selling digital ad space on mobile sites and mobile apps, publishers can generate revenue in a space that has increased in spending by 5% each year. 

In Conclusion

In the end, traditional printing isn’t dead, but digital printing allows publishers to take their business to the next level. By utilizing as many channels as possible, publishers can reach every corner of their target market. 

Publishers can generate more revenue by innovating their old business model to include the utilization of the new technology available. Finding the right balance between the two mediums will help produce a steady revenue flow.


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