Striking the Balance Between Print and Online Content at Distripress
Publishers have heard and accepted that print is to be a brand’s premium product going forward, but what does that mean in practical terms? And how can an understanding of that model lead to a reversal of the downward trends publishers are struggling to cope with?
I’m filing from Distripress, the international conference of press distribution, held this year in Brussels, where Juan Señor of London’s Innovation Media Consulting Group unfolded the model his group has developed. Publishers will need both print and online content to succeed, he tells us: print as the haute couture to lead the brand and online as prêt-á-porter to carry it. The product you’re sending down the catwalk is similar but not the same as the product hanging from the racks in the stores.
Any attempt to move from print to entirely digital is misguided, as the money is not moving and will not move to digital-only. Even today, 93% of publishing revenues globally still come from print. And publishers need the designer name of print to build and keep their audiences, just as they need the minute-by-minute updates of online to engage them. Print is for prestige, and digital is for the mass market. And what is provided in each format needs to change.
Print products will be thinner, will use less paper, but will provide more relevant value -- and not in the form of mere data. Humans simply cannot ingest any more data. Instead, we need to change both the content and architecture of print, moving to more journalism, more scoops, less opinion, more facts, more analysis, and more briefings.
The publications of the future will need two newsrooms, one for speed (mobile) and one for depth (print). It can’t be done together, as they are two separate things. And separate -- but very, very close -- will be a business super desk for native advertising.
With reference to this model, Señor identifies the dominances of the present and future:
- Mobile will be the dominant platform.
- Video will be the dominant mode.
- Native advertising will be the dominant vehicle. Display ads are dead. Move on.
- Programmatic will be the dominant method.
- Data will dominate decisions.
As we begin to assimilate and apply these principals, Señor advises, let’s also acknowledge that failure is overrated. Publishing is not the Silicon Valley, and while we need to move fast and reinvent ourselves, we can do so by applying principals that we have found to work, and by innovating in the context of these new understandings.
In short, we can preserve the old by bringing in the new, and realize that, for publishing, what has changed is both nothing -- and everything.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.