I have read a couple of cool articles in the past week that are all looking at how publishers are changing strategy in looking for new ways to monetize their content over digital with a focus on mobile.
In this article on paidcontent.org, the AOP comes up with some interesting information after having interviewed more than 1500 UK publishers.
Long story short, almost all publishers are in agreement that micro-payments or paywalls are more interesting options compared to subscription packages.
A cut and paste from the article shows the mood of the publishers:
Top 3 Opportunities/Major Opportunities:
1. iPad/other tablets (94%)
2. Adoption of smartphones (92%)
3. Mobile Web (81%)
Paul Sweeting in his article on Gigaom.com adds some more interesting facts on the topic. Publishers are faced with a huge challenge and that is print advertising sells better than online but print sales are down. Thus, monetization of online and digital is paramount for survival. Another point Paul makes is that News sites are not doing well with subscriptions and that takes us back to Paidcontent.org and micropayments and paywells.
Long story short, there seems to be some consensus or at least a new found enthusiasm in looking for more creative ways to get consumers to acquire content and services over tablets and mobile devices.
From what we see, our publishers, the more niche or passionate their audience is, the easier it is to sell single copies and or subscriptions to their products in the Apple and Google Stores. Tablets surely offer a prime opportunity to mix up an on-line advertising strategy with premium sales.
In short, the more options you give a consumer to acquire your content, the more opportunities you are creating to generate revenue. It reminds me of surfcasters with multiple poles planted in the sand. With proper tracking of consumer behaviour, publishers will be able to become more sophisticated in offering and creating services.
Take for example, Wired, Italy and the version 5 of Paperlit they are using that creates a hybrid app with premium digital replica and free content. At present, Wired is selling the digital replica and is giving away for free their html5 content feeds. Wired is selling audio-video ads embedded in the app, banner ads, interstitials in addition to their premium content. And what is stopping them from offering a service in the app where consumers can click and speak to a techy for x cents per minute for some precious information about their new iPad...
Yes, publishing is going to get more and more competitive and the winners are going to be those who can fulfill their readers' needs for free, for sale and most definitely the proper mix of both!
One thing for sure, digital marketing executives' lives have just become much-much more complicated!
PS. If you are as interested in this topic as we are, come and listen to our CEO, Gionata Mettifogo and the Eco of Bergamo speak on this topic in Vienna at Wan-Ifra on October, 10th.