Publishing Executive January-February 2012
For just a moment, let's put trends and tips aside, and take inventory of what constitutes a good audience development program. As our customers (readers, visitors, buyers, members, etc.) call for more and better in a world that is changing at breakneck pace, management expectations also continue to rise. Audience developers have more channels, tools and data to work with than ever before. While being told how easy it is to reach, engage and monetize customers, it has never been more difficult.
"Print is dead." "Magazines are dead." "The industry is dying." If I hear these deductions of fuzzyheaded defeatists one more time, we'll likely experience the unmediated wrath of an Irish redhead gone off the deep end.
A recent study confirms what many already suspect: Tablet and e-reader ownership boosts magazine reading. 90% of survey respondents say they consume as much or more magazine content compared to before buying a mobile device.
With print revenues not returning to pre-recession levels and tablets ushering in the era of mobile media consumption, publishers find themselves confronted with a bold new business paradigm. According to a recent report from eMarketer, Internet advertising in 2012 will, for the first time, surpass print ad spending.
Far from a static replica of its print flagship, Reader's Digest's (RD) digital editions incorporate video, slideshows, book excerpts, games and reprints from Digest's international editions, as well as original columns.
The launch of the iPad in 2010 launched a new era of innovative publications accompanied by new revenue opportunities—and pushed the limits of production staff who were required to produce more products without any accommodation to publication schedules. Publishers from across the spectrum realized that they must explore new workflows, publishing tools and business models to deliver their content simultaneously to any media channel.
As McDonald's' recent hashtag fiasco reminds us, even the seasoned social media user can find him or herself in the midst of a public relations nightmare if online marketing is not conducted with plenty of forethought and care. This makes having a set strategy for social media planning and implementation all the more important; the more you know going in, the less likely you are to make a mistake, or simply allow a half-hearted effort to languish, generating little or no return on investment (ROI).
I attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January to see what electronic implications would further affect our ever-changing industry. What I discovered is not so much a new technology, but the start of a thought process in what I consider the inevitable next digital chapter. As you might guess, CES is filled with electronic gadgets from the smallest imaginable to the largest possible with today's advanced manufacturing techniques.
In a frenzied, media-rich world, it becomes very easy to embrace each new content-delivery system as though it will become the next, and only, big thing. Massive investments? Of course. Proven results? Not so sure. Strong revenue streams? Not yet. Paywalls rather than free content? Still hoping.