For publishers working out their digital strategy, 2010 proved to be a year of numerous twists and turns. In just a year apps have come from nowhere to become a core part of the publishing toolkit. Murdoch finally unleashed his paywall, both on the web and via the iPad. Digital editions in general experienced a rebirth through tablet devices. And social media has made editors rethink how they distribute content and manage contributions from their readership.
So, here are my digital publishing predictions for the remainder of 2011, which are inevitably biased towards niche publishers, as this is my specialist area. It’ll be interesting to review these at the end of the year, to see how I did!
1. Niche pays
Newspapers will struggle with paywalls but specialist or ‘niche’ consumer and B2B publishers will be able to charge for online content, if their content is difficult to source or access elsewhere
2. Next generation digimags
Print publishers will move from replicating their content for digital media to producing bespoke digital magazines, featuring video, live news feeds, links and and social functionality. Murdoch’s The Daily is a perfect (and bold) example, with a $30million initial spend and a forecast $25million/year in operating costs
3. Digital substitution for controlled circulation
Business publishers will replace free and controlled circulation print copies with digital versions and gradually reduce frequency of print publications
4. Mobile device subsubscription
Publishers will solve the thorny issue of subscriptions with app store magazine purchases, and experiment with combined print and digital subscriptions so subscribers can consume content in whichever way they choose
5. Tablet market increases
iPads will still dominate the tablet market, but android will gain ground, with manufacturers introducing a wealth of devices for more budget-conscious consumers
6. Social editorial
Social media will help publishers build their community, lower costs and create ‘prosumer’ content for their websites and digital editions
7. Multi-skilled editors
Editorial teams will develop skills across copy, images, social media, podcasts, webinars and video; choosing the medium that best suits the message
8. Sales inspiration
Advertisers will use digital publishing formats to bridge the gap between editorial recommendation and online purchasing, with direct links to buy
9. Localized content
Digital publishers will start to customize their content, according to where an individual reader is located
10. Open editorial
Editors will become more open-minded, curating content in their specialist area from their own team, their own audience, and even through links to their competition
Have any predictions of your own? Let me know in the comments below!
About Guest Writer Carolyn Morgan