How Publishers are Capitalizing on Their Communities
But publishers can use events to do more than improve their reputations and gain traction in existing markets. Events can also help publishers break into entirely new markets. BisNow's model for entering new markets—which Begelman says the company has "down to clockwork"—utilizes events to support outward expansion. "Say we entered Chicago tomorrow," says Begelman. "By day 120 or so, we can launch our first event, and have 200-plus ticket buyers, and it'll grow from there." As these events catalyze community growth and interest, BisNow works up to holding events every three or four weeks in each of its markets.
New markets don't have to be defined by geographical location, though. Hammes identifies college-aged students as an important demographic for Foreign Affairs, despite their general unwillingness to pay for subscription services. "Students are very important to us because so many of our lifelong readers first learned about [our product] when they were in college. And students aren't going to pay for anything, but they are critical to our future readership," says Hammes.
Foreign Affairs' solution was to invite students to a panel discussion about the Middle East, and then have a grad school fair attached to the event. In addition to nurturing future audience members, Foreign Affairs' event strategy also generated revenue. "While we could not monetize it through content or subscriptions, we were able to monetize it through this grad school fair where our advertisers were featured," says Hammes.
Making Video Viable
There are plenty of reasons for expanding into video. One is demand. Audiences expect video to be part of a media brand's repertoire and are thirsty for it as mobile devices and widespread wireless access has put it at their fingertips. And publishers at the forefront of the industry are finding ways to monetize video in different ways. Yet getting video off the ground has its challenges.