Are Your Digital Editions Making Money?
23. Rethink your layout. Even a publication with an iconic look such as National Geographic realized the best way to adapt the magazine to digital was not to simply replicate print. It made every spread a single view, switching from portrait views to landscapes, and is selling interactive ads that also span two "pages."
24. Rethink your ad sales approach. "We originally removed [print] ads from our [digital] editions since … [they] looked jarringly out of a place in a redesigned interactive layout," Onufer says. National Geographic's sales team found advertisers who wanted specifically to be in the digital edition. "[They] are selling space … as an add-on package either to an existing print placement or as a stand alone digital edition placement," he says. "Our expectation … is for this model to evolve rapidly over the ... next year as both advertisers and publishers get more experience in releasing interactive editions especially on tablet devices such as the iPad."
25. Leverage multimedia assets. The society plans to make ample use of its video and photography to encourage digital subscriptions (currently the same rate as print at $15 a year).
26. Sell extras. The society soon will offer back-issue sales with digital editions packages. "We ran a 'water' issue in 1993," Onufer says. "It would have been great to have [that] available in our [April 'water' issue]."
27. Have a strategy for international subscriptions. With an international following and multiple language editions, National Geographic sees an opportunity to market its digital edition to widely dispersed language speakers (such as Armenian or Spanish) difficult to target on newsstands. To facilitate international sales, the publisher is working to be able to sell online utilizing local pricing rather than direct currency pricing.