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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11/21/2011

Inside Digital Magazines – And Some Business Numbers


Digital Magazines Gain Popularity

Digital magazines are taking off somewhat according to a survey by the Association of Magazine Media. And the various digital formats have a long tail, it seems … actually increasing the circulation of the print formats as well (see my post https://gator1965.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/printed-magazines-young-adult-readership-up-90-prefer-ink-format/). 

Could it be that folks with the new digital gadgets try the digital versions of mags they never have read before and like them well enough to subscribe to or buy the print counterparts?

Another interesting concept, not available yet but in the offing, is the ability for readers of digital mags to buy direct from the digital ads. 

Read this telling article by Jacqui Cheng of Wired.com (Epicenter Blog):

People Actually Read Digital Magazines (And They’re Ready To Buy)

The publishing industry is still feeling out ways to take advantage of new digital formats. Plenty of traditional magazine subscribers have declared that they still prefer old fashioned print, but a group of brave souls has slowly grown in number since the iPad was introduced in 2010: those who read magazines on tablets. Whether the general public loves them or hates them is still up for grabs, but according to a newly published survey conducted by the Association of Magazine Media (MPA–long story), those who already read magazines on tablets are really getting into them, with some suggestions on how to improve.

The MPA surveyed 1,009 adult digital magazine readers on their use habits, with a whopping 90 percent claiming to read as much or more magazine content than they did before acquiring a tablet, with two-thirds saying they plan to consume even more magazines now that they can do so digitally. But it seems that most prefer the newsstand-style subscriptions (that is, an area to retrieve their new content all in the same place) — 76 percent of survey respondents said they preferred this route to individual apps. And more than half, 55 percent, said they like to be able to read digital back issues of their favorite magazines.

 

These users have a handful of requests that are not widely implemented among digital magazines, however, including the ability to buy products directly from editorial features (70 percent) and the ability to buy directly from digital ads (59 percent). Frankly it’s surprising this isn’t already commonplace—ads do exist to sell products, after all—but we’re guessing this is partly due to the fact that most magazines are still porting over their print issues instead of working to create digital versions from scratch.

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03/02/2011

Publishers: Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers


Online publishers…especially writers who do blogs to expand their platform and brand and/or websites to sell their books, etc…definitely want to learn how to attract and keep many more readers AND retain them on their sites for longer periods per visit! 

I damn sure do. I have discovered that I’m a real dumbo when it comes to smart marketing…hell, I’m lacking even when it comes to dumb marketing.

Well, I have discovered an annual analysis of these very skill sets run by an outfit known as Lijit Networks and they have just released the results of their 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.

The figures in this analysis will surprise and educate you.

More details from this PR Newswire release:

Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis
Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80% as Online Publishers Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers
 
Lijit Networks, Inc., the leader in custom site search and engagement tools for online publishers, today announced the results of its 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis. Within the Lijit Top 50, a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites, adoption of social media widgets grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86% deployment. Social media widgets include tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing.As part of the research project, Lijit surveyed 735,834 websites to collect data on referring traffic and on-site widget deployment. Sites analyzed include all 15,000 sites in the Lijit Network as well as their extended network, which incorporates blogrolls and other linked sites. Of the sites surveyed, 84.8% have widgets installed. A widget is defined as, “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

Referring traffic goes social

Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic, which comprised 44.42% of referring traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other), which comprised 35.89% of referring traffic; and 3) social media traffic, which comprised 19.68% of referring traffic. Of referring traffic from social media sources, 44% came from Facebook, 41% came from StumbleUpon, 6.7% came from Digg, 5.13% came from Twitter, and 2% came from Reddit. The data verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

“Online publishing has become a two-way street and those who are most successful have learned to use social media to build highly engaged, conversational communities of readers,” said Todd Vernon, CEO and founder of Lijit Networks. “Social media tools should not only be used to attract new readers but also to engage and retain them by allowing people to post comments, receive feedback, and share relevant information.”

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11/04/2010

Publishing is Drowning in Ads!


Ads, ads, ads and more ads! We get bombarded with them everywhere! Not only in digital publishing, but in print, too. They are all over the place on the internet (hell, even on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary when you look up a word!) AND even on the covers of print magazines in the form of corner page-peels, belly bands, ad “windows” of varying sizes and false, glued-on covers and gatefolds#@*%?!

Now, I can understand a reasonable amount of ads to make up lost revenue due to faltering subscriptions, etc…BUT, damn, have a little consideration for the consumer.

My advice to advertisers: Don’t overplay your hand! Consumers are overwhelmed with legit data as it is, but the more ads they have to wade through just dilutes not only their effectiveness but the legit site content they are placed on gets a bad rap as well.

A good example of this conundrum is illustrated in this article by Jason Fell in FOLIO magazine:

Does This Cover Push the Ad/Edit Line Too Far?

I’ve seen my share of advertisements on magazine covers over the last couple years. I’ve seen corner page-peels, belly bands and ad “windows” of varying sizes. I’ve also seen false, glued-on covers and gatefolds.

Something like this, however, I haven’t seen.

The cover of the October 7 issue of Canon Communications’ EDN magazine [pictured top, left] features the EDN nameplate as it usually would, but the remaining two-thirds—which normally is devoted to editorial—is all advertising. The space is shared by an ad from a company called Avago Technologies and a corner page-peel ad from Digi-Key Corp (which also has a full-page ad inside the magazine).

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04/09/2010

How Publishers Plan to Monetize iPad Content

Filed under: digital ads,iPad apps,monetizing online content — gator1965 @ 3:42 pm


Can the iPad save the book, magazine and newspaper industries? You damn right it can, at least it (and improvements to follow) can have a big savior role…IF these industries can monetize their online content. And I have no doubt that quality content will be monetized successfully online…It already has in small pockets around the net.

Macala Wright Lee , writing for Mashable, tells us exactly how some publishers are strategizing online monetization:

Apple announced earlier this week that it had sold more than 300,000 iPads in the U.S. on the first day. Furthermore, iPad users downloaded more than one million apps from the App Store() and 250,000 e-books from the iBookstore on that day alone.

The release of the iPad has the publishing world wondering if paid digital content will put the industry back in the black. While e-books are showing strong growth (as seen by the first day’s downloads), the water is murkier when it comes to newspapers and magazines. All three of the industries are facing formidable challenges in transitioning from print to digital mediums, but some publishers are already taking some interesting approaches.

Exploring Multiple Revenue Streams

Michela Abrams, Publisher and CEO of Dwell Magazine, believes that the iPad will allow Dwell and all its subsidiary companies to generate new revenue streams through paid subscriptions, digital advertising and online-to-offline events. The publication has launched full-scale development of robust iPad apps that will incorporate Dwell advertisers and support cross platform ad integration on the Dwell Partner Network, Fine Living Channel, and the Dwell On Design conference.

“The web is about sharing experiences,” says Abrams. A huge proponent of community, Abrams believes that in order to make digital content on the iPad effective, publishers have to integrate all aspects of their audience into the digital experience.

Says Abrams, “When you serve a community, you should endeavor to know everything about that community no matter what your topic is. You need to know what kind of running shoes they wear, and scotch they drink, what airline they like to fly, and cars they drive; then, and only then, could you really understand your audience’s whole psychographic profile.” This is the philosophy that Dwell is using as it develops monetization strategies for the iPad.

Testing Online-To-Offline Revenue Streams

This summer, Dwell is testing Abram’s new online-to-offline marketing models with the Dwell on Design trade show and conference in Los Angeles. Dwell plans to use their iPad applications for pre-show promotion by releasing 1,000 copies of its iPad design directory before the event. A vendor who participates in the event, such as Herman Miller, is able to have branded content within the digital edition. Advertisers, such as Target, can publish their own mini magazine for customers within the pages of Dwell’s digital editions. This of course, is incorporated into the exhibition and sponsorship for show vendors.

What’s more, Dwell has partnered with sustainable design blog Eco Fabulous, founded by Zem Joaquin, to offer a real-time tour of a sustainable prefab home (the interiors of which were designed by Joaquin) during the conference. The portal for the tour is, what else, the iPad.

Those who can’t attend the show can download the tour app and follow along in real-time. If a viewer sees something they like, they can touch it and discover its designer, and link directly to the company’s website.

Once e-commerce capabilities are enabled for the iPad, Abrams plans to fully integrate them into the digital edition of Dwell, as well as future editions of the Dwell on Design conference app. As consumers or show attendees read through the magazine, they will be able to find out what designer or manufacturer produced the tile, countertop or bedding that’s featured in an advertisement, and simply click through to purchase it.

Getting Consumers To Pay For Digital Content

For magazine publishers wishing to monetize their digital content, success is directly related to the quality of that content. According to a study by eMarketer, if the publication has content that the consumer believes is worth paying for, they will. The publisher then has to figure out how much that consumer is willing to spend and develop a fairly priced payment model.

So how does a magazine go about monetizing its digital content? Well, it’s easier than many may think. A start-up called PixelMags is leading the way for magazine publishers large and small.

38 magazines launched via PixelMags’ iPad apps held top spots on the iTunes Top 50 Paid Book List over the first weekend nationally and internationally. Magazines published on the PixelMags platform include Dwell (and all it’s subsidiaries), iCreate, Eliza, and MacUser.

For publishers, including niche, digital magazines and bloggers, the platform offers additional digital revenue streams. Consumers can purchase new issues and back issues of a magazine; over 25% of them purchase a 12-month subscription to the magazines they download. Magazines with international editions receive instant global distribution in up to 77 countries. A business publication or independent blogger can publish exclusive content, studies, or reports that are available for download at an additional cost.

What sets the PixelMags platform apart from its competitors is that it offers branded apps, complete with custom titles, meta descriptions and keywords; all of which are used for advanced search purposes when an application is launched on iTunes. The platform is compatible across the iPad, iPhone() and iPod Touch. Features include search, zoom, bookmarking options, headline alerts, a virtual library, social network sharing capabilities and in-app purchasing.

For magazine publishers, the PixelMags platform allows consumers to experience rich media content, including integrated, interactive advertising, games, platform-hosted video and vertical ad integration. Development costs vary by the scope of the project, but pricing starts at $1,000 from creation to iTunes launch.

PixelMags creators are excited about the opportunities their platform has to offer those who want to monetize their digital content. Founders Mark Stubbs, a 3D Imaging specialist for Bugatti and Aston Martin, and Ryan Marquis, a digital marketing and e-commerce executive, wanted to take the experiences they used when creating photorealistic imagery for luxury car manufacturers and translate that into the digital experience for content on the iPad and iPhone.

Is The iPad Going To Save Publishing Industry?

Realistic digital magazine replicas, combined with user-friendly features like bookmarking, search options, virtual libraries, headline alerts, in-app purchasing, social network sharing, and endless interactive content – isn’t that the product that millions of magazine readers have been waiting for?

The keys to success of course, lie in the monetization strategy and the quality of the content.

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