This week myself and our social media specialist, Zoe Wyatt, had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at an event called a Tech Clinic, Innovation in Queensland Publishing – Thriving in the Age of Digital Publishing.
The event was run by the Business Innovation Services unit of The Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation & the Arts in partnership with AIC, or the Australian Institute of Commercialisation and was targeted at a wide range of publishers from across the state including those with single titles, multiple titles, newspapers and magazines.
The event was much needed as a slide I used to demonstrate this point, and featured below demonstrates. In short, out of all the industries on Linkedin, Newspapers and traditional media forms are experiencing the biggest decline, but in stark contrast, digital publishing is experiencing the biggest increase.
Having come from a media background (my first journalism gig was on the sports desk of the main daily newspaper of my home town of Wellington at the tender age of 16, I started my own secondary school sports newspaper at 17 and worked in media roles in newspapers, magazines and online in NZ and the UK through my 20s) I certainly knew where the 30-40 publishers in the room were ‘coming from’; and with my experience in the online world (and innate opinion) I was happy to give them my ‘two cents worth’.
It was an onerous task to take the ‘stage’ immediately after Spiros Kotsialos, Digital Delivery General Manager for News Corp, but I spoke from the heart, as I always do, and my slot was on digital strategies and potential business models.
So what did I tell them?
The fact is there have been numerous casualties within this industry over a period of time, but at an increasing rate more recently. To name but a few in Queensland alone, in March this year we lost The Weekender & all Journals on the Sunshine Coast, in April the Queensland Business Review, Queensland 400 and Book of Lists and the Gold Coast Mail and Robina Mail have also all gone by the way side.
As I am telling lots of businesses at the moment, certainly not just publishing, it’s high time to get your head out of the sand and continue to be ‘busy being busy’. If you do, you risk not having a business to be ‘busy in’ any longer.
The question in this case, as it is with many businesses across all industries, is actually not ‘how do we become more digital’ it is in fact ‘how do we completely review and potentially revise our business model to become more profitable and sustainable.
Four possible business models
1. Replicate the publication experience online
2. Go purely online
3. Put Up a Paywall
Of all the models listed above, if I had to pick one to put my money on, I’d probably go with this one. This is where some information is made available for free, with a stepped approach to pay for more exclusive content, an approach News Ltd has currently gone with. There are many examples of other industries, particularly in the software space using this business model with a good level of success. Just think of all the cloud based solutions, many of which are listed on our technology page which offer the ability to try it for free for 30 days, pay a limited amount for a limited service, and then grow into higher plans as you better understand the offering and are coaxed into paying larger amounts for it.
If you’re in the publishing game, I encourage you to go check them out, or suggest those you like in the space below.
What strategies are you currently executing to diversify your revenue streams and ensure your businesses profitability and sustainability? Are you currently using one of the business models above? How is it working for you? What digital publishing technology do you use and recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.