As traditional publishing transitions to digital content, whether web, mobile, social, video, data, events or communities, so the rules of the game are changing. Publishers need to look outside their own experience and industry and learn new skills from technology and entertainment businesses.
In the last two weeks, I have spoken to twenty media and technology innovators, who are all speaking at the forthcoming SIIA Digital Content & Media Summit, taking place 23-25 Sept in London.
These are ten digital media trends that they are already exploiting and that publishers cannot ignore.
- Freemium is taking over the world. Technology businesses from Skype and Spotify to Reddit and LinkedIn – plus most online games – operate on a freemium business model. The core service is free, and then users are enticed to upgrade for enhanced functionality and privileged access. Publishers need to abandon the hard paywall and allow a wider audience to sample their content for free, while building a careful conversion strategy. Clever exponents of this new art include The Economist and OECD.
- All new products will be technology-led. Media brands must move on from content delivery to working out how they fit into a purchase process and how they can deliver a service to a defined audience, according to Tony Macklin of Immediate Media. And as all new products involve developing software, publishers must acquire new skills including analytics, usability and managing the interface between editors and developers. In this they can learn from the experiences of tech firms.
- All businesses are global. Digital content rapidly reaches an international audience. Publishers like Future have 80% of their digital magazine sales outside the UK. So they are now actively building a presence with websites in US, Australia, France and Italy, following up with local content and teams. BMJ are taking their content into emerging markets like Brazil & India and now are 70% outside the UK.
- Data can be repackaged to drive revenues. Data-sets developed for one industry sector can be repurposed for a new audience – as CABI rethought their academic database into new paid-for services. Plus more data can be collected from an audience to repackage to new customers looking for insights – CABI and WGSN are good examples.
- Communities provide insight and new revenues. Publishers and event organisers alike are developing ways to communicate with their audiences all year round. Businesses like Sift and UBM gain valuable insight on what their communities value, and can also monetize these communities through advertiser solutions and bespoke events.
- Audience analytics uncover more than intuition. Hard data on the profile and behaviour of readers provides publishers like Incisive and Shortlist with intelligence on how to evolve content in unexpected directions, and the evidence to pitch to new advertisers.
- Subscriptions are becoming bespoke. Customers expect more tailored content packages, so Emap is offering subscriptions to different combinations of platforms, and Strategy Eye and Springer charge subscribers a premium for the ability to customize content.
- Subscribers can be traded up to premium memberships. By adding extra services to a basic content subscription, from live events to tailored consultancy, and setting up an account management team, businesses like Sigaria and Business Monitor can grow their revenue per customer up to tenfold, and secure high renewal rates.
- Native advertising puts emphasis on engagement. Collaborative advertising solutions leverage editorial teams’ understanding of what content engages their audience, and allows tailored, multi-channel campaigns to drive measurable results for clients. Archant and the Economist believe this engagement delivers more value than total reach.
- People expect content to be mobile. Busy consumers and business people assume they can access their favourite content on whichever device they have to hand, so publishers have to devise editorial workflow that allows them to “create once, publish everywhere” as Dennis have impressively developed.
While this new digital media environment may sound daunting, there are plenty of publishing and media businesses who are already successfully tackling these trends. At the SIIA Digital Content & Media Summit on 23-25 September at One Wimpole Street in London, over forty speakers from publishing, media and technology will share with delegates what they have learnt.
Join us for two days of fresh ideas, new approaches to publishing digital content successfully and plenty of opportunities to question innovative media and technology speakers and experts.
Plus you can connect with other digitally-savvy, like-minded publishers.
Readers of the SIIA UK blog can save £200 on their ticket using the promotion code DCMNEWS to register online here
We are so confident of the quality of the event and convinced that you will find it valuable for your media business that we offer a money-back guarantee. If you attend the Summit and do not believe it has delivered excellent value just write to us within a week explaining why and we will refund your delegate fee.