Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/30/2011

Digital Magazines – The 2011 Stats


The tablet age (along with some other mobiles) is only about a year old … But, there have been digital editions for over a decade (and I didn’t realize that!). At any rate, the blossoming digital publishing age did come along at a time when print mags were sliding. And from all indications digital editions have revived the magazine industry … even pumping up their print sisters in some cases 🙂

Now, let’s get into some business performance numbers for 2011 RE this rather new industry … provided by Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor of FOLIO magazine

The State of the Digital Edition Industry in 2011

Publisher satisfaction grows but monetization continues to frustrate.

We’re only about a year into the tablet age but more than a decade of using digital editions. Today, with the rise of ever increasingly sophisticated mobile devices and apps, digital editions are poised to leap to the forefront of publishers’ revenue generation plans and serve as their flagship on devices such as the iPad.

But are they able to deliver? Nxtbook Media recently wrapped its 2011 State of the Digital Edition survey, which looked at audience development and revenue growth, as well as where mobile fits in.

The good news? Publishers on both the consumer and b-to-b sides are more satisfied with their digital editions than last year when Nxtbook first conducted the survey. However, there is some growing frustration as publishers continue with how to actually monetize digital editions.

Satisfaction Up by 40 Percent

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they are satisfied with their digital edition (12 percent are “quite satisfied” while 37 percent are “somewhat satisfied”), up 40 percent from 2010. “Publishers this year are more optimistic and they’re also more decisive than last year,” says Nxtbook marketing director Marcus Grimm.

However, while publishers are realizing digital editions have great potential for growing audience, they aren’t sure how to do so. Sixty-four percent of respondents say they are confident there are many more readers out there but they don’t know how to reach them (up from 59.3 percent who said the same last year). “That speaks to the youth of our audiences,” says Grimm. “Publishers are trying lots of things; we know readers are out there, but we’re not cracking the code. The iTunes store brought us to a totally different place—every time we think we have this space figured out, it changes.”

Just 21 percent of respondents said they know there are more digital magazine readers out there and they know how to reach them.

Still, Grimm advises publishers should strive for 15 percent of their readership to come from digital editions at this stage. “If you can get to that, it’s a vibrant number,” he adds. “It’s a large enough number that your advertisers will care about.”

Advertising Satisfaction

Publishers are less satisfied with digital editions as an advertising tool than as an audience tool. Just 29 percent of publishers say they are very or somewhat dissatisfied with the advertising revenue of their digital editions, about the same as last year.
However, the satisfaction gap between b-to-b publishers (Nxtbook’s main clientele) and consumer publishers shrank over the past year.

“The iTunes store has helped b-to-b pubs a lot and specialty optimized magazines are helping with sponsorship,” says Grimm. “Advertisers are getting excited about new optimized magazines.”

Still, just 12 percent of respondents say they have a firm handle on how to generate money with digital magazines. Sixty-one percent of respondents say their digital magazine can be a revenue generator but are unsure how to get to the next level.

Perhaps most troubling, the number of respondents who say they’ve tried many ways to make money with digital editions and are fairly convinced they can’t nearly doubled from last year to 8 percent.

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12/02/2010

Digital is Growing Up


A little visionary post tonight…As much as I can envision the future anyway (being retarded makes it difficult).

We talk about “traditional” print publishing today as old hat. Well, not too far into the future the new tablet computers, eReaders and other mobile devices will be “traditional” or old hat also. Just like the old bulky camcorders (remember them?) have given way to more diminutive devices.

After all, who will need ANYTHING you have to carry to compute on, or receive data on, when you will probably be able to think, or command in some other way, data molecules right out of the air into holograms for such tasks!

Ouch! All this prognosticating has left me drained! But, to get back to the present, just how is the state of digital publications doing after their first introduction about 10 years ago (damn has it been that long)?

Here is an article by Matt Kinsman of FOLIO magazine that examines the “Digital Editions: The State of the Industry”:

As the digital edition industry near 10 years of age, Nxtbook Media recently wrapped a survey called “Digital Editions: The State of the Industry,” which polled 233 publishers on their overall satisfaction with digital editions as audience tools and revenue generators, and how mobile apps and tablets will influence their strategy going forward.

Interestingly, Nxtbook concluded from the results that there is great latent potential in digital magazines from the perspective of the publisher. In terms of priorities, Nxtbook believes, publishers are more focused on increasing circulation for digital magazines and selling advertising more effectively into the format, than they are on apps and mobile solutions.

When it comes to the circulation of their digital magazines, about 40 percent reported modest to great satisfaction. On the other hand, 38 percent were somewhat dissatisfied while 22 percent were quite dissatisfied.

However, b-to-b publishers seem more pleased with digital magazines at this point than their consumer counterparts, with 50 percent saying they are somewhat to greatly pleased with their digital circulation.

Read and learn more

10/27/2010

E-Media Revenue Numbers – A Reality Check for Mags


Since the intro and explosion of digital media and publishing, how are the e-media revenues shaping up?

How are the profit margins changing?

What are the current realized earnings for small to large publishing firms now riding on the digital pony in the internet rodeo?

Well, for those who like charts and numbers (and interesting they are), I am presenting a great layout by Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor, at FOLIO magazine:

Digital is the priority for most publishers, yet many executives have had to re-adjust their e-media forecasts just as they did with more traditional revenue streams such as print and events. Online ad spending in the U.S. dropped 5 percent to $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2009 and 7 percent to $6.2 billion in the second quarter, according to market analyst IDC.

Digital revenue remains relatively small, despite massive percentage growth in recent years (and massive slumps in traditional revenue streams). “Those who have been aggressively pursuing digital will likely see it between 8 percent and 15 percent of the overall revenue mix,” Deborah Esayian, co-president of Emmis Interactive told FOLIO: recently.

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12/29/2009

Hearst’s Digital Reach Grows


Advertising revenue for digital publications is taking off. And, subscription rates for online pubs is also climbing if Hearst’s online magazine empire is any indication. The way they are able to tailor ads to specific targeted groups in different regions in the same issue is golden…

Amy Wicks, World Wide Digital, reports it this way:

GROWING REACH: With 26 sites and counting, Hearst Magazines Digital Media will launch a new vertical late next year that “is not one you’d expect from us,” noted Chuck Cordray, senior vice president and general manager. He added the URL already has been purchased but declined to provide more information. Next summer, the digital unit also will relaunch its teen network, which includes seventeen.com and teenmag.com.

And the digital space continues to attract new advertisers for Hearst, with ad revenue up more than 20 percent year-over-year. Cordray said the focus for next year will be on the retail category, which rose more than 50 percent this year. Cordray contended advertisers are coming to the Hearst digital network because, among other things, the package of sites on which the ads will appear can be customized depending on the audience a given brand wants to reach. “Ad networks usually can’t guarantee quality like we can, and they will alter placements across their sites,” Cordray said. “The nature of our content means the audience is very tailored.”

Meanwhile, the Web continues to be a greater source of subscriptions, with 3.3 million garnered this year versus 2.5 million in 2008. House Beautiful is one of the leaders, with more than 75 percent of subscriptions sold online.

Hearst magazine sites represent more than 40 percent of the total traffic in the digital network and 50 percent of its ad revenue. According to comScore for March through October, traffic across the total network was up 33 percent, including food site Delish.com. Traffic at Cosmopolitan was up 1 percent, Marie Claire was up 19 percent and Harper’s Bazaar was up 151 percent. Kaboodle, a nonmagazine site that focuses on fashion, was up 66 percent.

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