It is no longer a secret that for publishers of all sizes, Going digital is becoming a very important part of their content and distribution strategy. In a recent interview I read of Josh Macht, executive vice-president and publisher and Eric Hellweg, MD, digital strategy and editorial director at the Harvard Business Review, in the Mint (Accessible Here), they both mention how Digital is a very important part of a greater readership footprint that they are looking at creating.
It’s no surprise that India forms a very important part of their strategy since 8-10% of HBR’s traffic comes from India and Indians form the most active set of people on their facebook page.
Now while publications like HBR are openly embracing and looking at growing Digital, a question beckons, “What should a regular publisher do to get on the digital growth bandwagon ?“. From the interview between the Mint Correspondent Aveek Datta, Josh Macht and Eric Hellweg, I could reason out many aspects of their strategy are integrated in what we are doing at Readwhere, so I will list them as below.
Digital Demands a change in Nature of Content
Hellweg mentions that Digital does demand a change in nature of content. While certain articles when created have the magazine publication in mind, other articles require articles to have audio and video elements.
The content editors have to work across content formats. They should no longer be constrained to just the written word, but have to develop an audio-visual form of expression.
As a readwhere publisher you also have access to augment and enhance your publications with Videos, Photo-galleries and Hyperlinks, which can give your published content a much richer appeal attuned for Digital Subscribers.
Digital Enables Social Media and Social Media is Important
A majority of the content created needs to be social media friendly. Social media reach is an important parameter when it comes to publications, since a large part of the reader base is going to be accessing the content links on facebook, twitter and g+.
Thus not only do the publishers need to be aware of this, they must also leverage the clipping feature of readwhere to share interesting clips of their publication pages, or articles on their facebook and twitter pages. Traditional forms of creating replicas of your print magazines does not allow for this interactivity, but the readwhere viewer on web or on iOS allows this capability.
Popular magazines like Economist and even HBR have a vibrant community on social media channels which greatly enhances their reach.
Multi Device Access is a must
Whether your publications are accessed by professionals, top executives, students or even housewives, a multi device strategy is quite important nevertheless. Digital unlike print can be easily customised to render based on the screen size and capability of the device.
Sure print is not going away anywhere, but digital will present new frontiers which can be easily integrated for ubiquitous accessibility.
With Readwhere, you publish once and your content is seamlessly delivered to your audience which can access the same on web, mobile and tablet devices. All of the above happens with the bells and whistles intact, including video enhancements and social media.
Your Website is a good source of new subscribers
As Macht mentions in the interview, the HBR website is the second largest source of new subscribers. For a site which drives it revenue from paid content, this means that the importance of having e-commerce enabled on your website cannot be underscored.
The Readwhere platform provides just that, a white-label integration which works with your website domain and enables you sell subscriptions and individual publications using are pre-integrated payment gateways or via inApp purchasing. Developing this internally can be complicated and cumbersome, because digital content commerce is quite a different beast as compared to the much favoured COD (Cash on Delivery) Commerce most of our Indian e-commerce companies specialise in. So we take the pain and the publishers make the gain.
Print + Digital, Separates but binds
The idea of selling your print subscription and bundling Digital along with the same, or selling Print + Digital at a cost above the print subscription is an interesting element if the nature of content on Digital is different from that of print. Even if it is not, Digital enables easy access to archives and is virtually there when you need it.
Macht mentions how new tools which are essentially going to be integrated in Digital Offering can enable greater personalisation.
Even considering an advertising disposition, the print ad revenue numbers are coming down, or becoming more premium, where as digital ad revenue numbers are moving up. Hence Digital in many ways can impact print in their editorial decision making, as well as advertising intelligence.
Readwhere offers it’s premium publishers a institutional sales platform which enables you to bundle print + digital as one offering, and deliver digital subscriptions seamlessly. This enables a ideal integration to all your readers and advertisers.
So Does Digital Lead to Subscription Price Drops
Interestingly Macht mentions that while everyone else has reduced the price of the subscriptions, HBR has reversed the trend and increased the price of subscriptions. Did this lead to a reduction in subscriptions, not really, it lead to an increase in the number of copies sold.download film Life
I believe the future on Digital should be a lot more choice. For publications like HBR, packaging print+digital has worked, but for some of the other publications which are content focussed too, enabling an article level access could be a big step ahead. Publishers should ideally be able to break a publication at an article level, and allow their subscribers to buy each article at a pre-specified price which is less than the entire cost of the magazine. This will get more people hooked and greater choice for the reader.
We as India’s largest ePublications platform are not far away in our thought process from what the big wigs in the west are planning and working on. Digital is the future, and we have all that it takes to work with you and power the future. What is needed is an increased realisation that preferences are changing and the changes are happening very fast leading to a completely new eco-system being formed. So here is to richer content and richer publishers producing the content.