What Is Next for Digital Publishing?

In the last week alone I have read countless articles bombarding the average person with intelligence, insights, and fear regarding what the future has to hold for digital publishing:

  • A company who has launched a digital newsstand that allows you to buy with Facebook Credits
  • Google’s plans for a digital newsstand launch in July and a 7-inch reading device
  • The beta launch of a company that lets readers create their own magazines using HTML5
  • Traditional business models for publishing being thrown out the window
  • The death of Apple’s iTunes for publishers
  • The death of reading by children under 13
  • The death of digital publishing due to advertiser revolt (wow…lots of death articles)
  • Device-less digital reading abilities
  • Anti-trust lawsuits
  • Domination of the Ultrabook – followed by the death of Ultrabook

And the list goes on and on…

Let’s face it, the world of a publisher today changes faster than we can keep up with. Every time we brief our teams about a new opportunity, strategy, direction, or effort the whole landscape seems to shift. The only thing that is consistent is that change is going to keep coming.

If you are a publisher looking for success in the short term, what do you need to be thinking about? This list of digital publishing realities for the remainder of 2012 might just help a few of us keep focused as the changes keep rolling in.

Reaching consumers:

  1. Your reader will have a smartphone, PC, and/or tablet of some type this year. Create brand connections through all of those devices. This doesn’t mean you need to create a standalone app of your publication in all cases. It does mean you need to have a simple-to-get-to user experience from all of these devices.
  2. Google has decided to use its leverage to make you use Google+. If your brand is not using Google+ your search efforts could get impacted from some algorithm changes Google is making. Look into this.
  3. You’ll need to make a pricing decision. Will you give the digital version of your publication to the print subscriber for free, for a smaller fee, or for no discount at all? You need to have a defensible position on this for your subscribers. Come holiday time, this will be a big deal.

Capitalizing on advertising:

  1. Retail advertisers are going to want to insert digital catalogs for the holidays and not just interactive ads.
  2. All advertisers are not staffed to create multivariate ads for every platform your brand might be. They want some standards and standard reporting (even if it is a small set of information).
  3. There are unique opportunities for you to work with an advertiser to create something digital to reach your collective audience. This could be a game, a utility app, a QR code offer, or more. But don’t discount the opportunity to co-op with your advertisers.

While this list is short, it can give you quite a bit to consider as you move into the summer and holiday planning months. There is tremendous opportunity to capitalize on today, as we plan for an ever-evolving future.

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