Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/08/2015

The Printed Book – The Latest On Its Fate


                       Printed Books – Here to Stay?

In the continuing development of the ‘evolving publishing industry’, as in the evolution of ANY industry or of the world, itself, for that matter, there are going to be growth spurts and plateaus.

And when either one of these phenomena occur, speculation runs rampant Re why – and all kinds of predictions materialize running all the way from Armageddon of a product (e.g. the printed book) to the newest replacement product (e.g. the ebook)!

The truth of the matter is neither of these book platforms are going anywhere – In fact, more hitherto unknown platforms will be marching onto the publishing stage in the future AND the future thereafter 🙂

What is and will be happening is the acceptance of existing and new publishing products will be integrated, massaged and utilized by different demographic areas at different times.

Tonight’s research article outlines one such current ‘state of the printed book’ forecast; with a little of its history thrown in for good measure:

 

The Past, Present and Future of the Printed Book

By Anuj Srivas as printed in The Wire

Hear that? That’s the sound of Johannes Gutenberg rolling in his grave. Amazon, the very company that has done the most to disrupt the industry surrounding the printing press, has opened a physical bookstore.

Dustin Kurtz over at New Republic has a great review of what the company is billing as a “brick-and-mortar store without walls”: Amazon Books, located just outside a shopping mall named University Village in Seattle, comes with the company’s touch; reviews, ratings and all. Books are organised into stacks such as “Most Wish-listed Cookbooks”, customers can look at online reviews while physically browsing a book and the price of all inventory is determined by Amazon’s online algorithm, the one used for the company’s website.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Amazon has finally opened a bookstore. The store’s existence shows us how developments in the publishing industry, which has often confused business analysts, have come full circle over the past ten years.

The all-too-familiar tale of digital disruption that we’ve seen play out in television (Netflix), transportation (Uber/Ola Cabs), accommodation (Airbnb) and music (iTunes, Spotify) hasn’t quite applied to the printed word. This isn’t to suggest, however, that Amazon is throwing in the towel and plans to open any more bookstores, or even pursue it as a serious strategy; only that the march of technological progress hasn’t followed its usual course.

Read the entire article here.

 

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12/06/2014

Who Said Print Publishing Is Not Flourishing? An Example of Immense Growth


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John R. Austin, Writer and Blog Researcher

Tonight’s post will examine one area of immense print publishing growth and reveal a little of just how it is being accomplished. From initial scouting for markets, setting up contacts/relationships, nailing down actual agreements all the way to setting up distribution channels, etc.

And where is this occurring? In South Korea in their English-as-a-second-language (ESL) educational course programs and children’s books.

Two key excerpts:

‘South Korean publishers have descended on the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico in a bid to tap into the potentially vast Latin American ESL market.’

‘The Korean Publishers Association is present at the FIL, heading a delegation of two educational publishers keen to expand into Latin America with English and Chinese-language learning textbooks.’

Come have your eyes opened a bit on how print is flourishing/expanding in other countries 🙂

 

This researched and reported by Adam Critchley in the Growth Markets section of Publishing Perspectives:

 

South Korean Publishers Eye Latin America’s Vast ESL Market

The South Korea stand at the Guadalajara International Book Fair

South Korean education publishers see Latin America as a potential growth market for their popular English-as-a-second-language learning materials.

South Korean publishers have descended on the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico in a bid to tap into the potentially vast Latin American ESL market.

The Korean Publishers Association is present at the FIL, heading a delegation of two educational publishers keen to expand into Latin America with English and Chinese-language learning textbooks.

Angie H Roh

“Our priority is to target countries where English is needed as a second language and there is market demand for children’s English education. We know Mexico is one of the countries with the highest demand, for example,” Angie H. Roh, marketing manager for Caramel Tree, told Publishing Perspectives.

Caramel Tree is a children’s imprint of JLS, a Seoul-based educational company with offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver.

“We provide textbooks for children from kindergarten to elementary school level learning English as a second language,” Angie said.

“We have international clients and we provide partial customization of books if required. We have 200 for elementary children and publish between 20 and 30 new titles every year. As well as export we have more than 100 ESL schools in South Korea, and therefore our print runs are high for our captive market.

Outside South Korea, other Asian countries such as China, Singapore and Thailand are our biggest markets, and we’re in talks with distributors in Brazil, Peru and Mexico.

“We definitely think there is a lot of potential for us in Latin America.”

The firm either imports directly to distributors, currently in 10 countries, or strikes up partnerships with publishers that bring out its books under license, and sells physical and ebooks via Amazon.

“Our books are written by English, Canadian and American children’s book authors, and we buy exclusive rights,” she said.

Kim Eun Hee

 

Kong & Park is the other textbook publisher hawking its wares in Guadalajara in a bid to expand its catalog of Spanish-language books into countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

The Seoul-based publisher, which also has offices in Schaumburg, Illinois, is also looking to distribute Spanish-language books for learning Chinese characters in Latin America, according to the firm’s president Kyung-Yong Kong.

“We had yet to establish a relationship with Latin America, and so we have come to Guadalajara to allow our publishers to expand into new markets,” Korean Publishers Association international project development director Kim Eun Hee said.

“It’s a potentially huge market and we want to open it up. There are many readers but we have yet to see what they are interested in, whether it’s just picture books and textbooks, or also South Korean literature.”

South Korean publishers’ biggest markets for educational books are China, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, she said.

Despite having an 84% Internet penetration rate, one of the world’s highest for a country of nearly 50 million people, the ebook has yet to take off, Kim said.

“Many people still like to read paper books, and with children, many parents are reluctant to let their children read on electronic devices.”

Readers’ love of books is evidenced by the country having more than 31,000 registered publishing companies and more than 13,000 libraries.

Also present at the FIL is the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, which provides translation and publication grants for South Korean writers.

The KLTI has formed an alliance with Toluca, Mexico-based publisher Bonobos Editores to produce books by authors from each country for translation and publication in Mexico and South Korea.

South Korean poet Keong Ho-Seung (b. 1950) presented his book Morir después de amar at the book fair, published by Bonobos in Spanish translation earlier this year.

01/18/2014

Despite Gadgets, Content (Letters and words) is Still King – And Content Creators are Kingmakers!


Publishing Guru Bo Sacks

The latest bunch of hot, new, tech gadgets has just marched forth from CES (The International CES is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada) — and some will affect publishing even further, just as 3D covers, shopping inside the pages of a digital issue, stand alone apps, etc., have in the recent present and past.

But, regardless of the bells and whistles of the new tech, they are just bows tied around what is being presented: CONTENT. And, if the letters and words do not engage, entertain, educate or offer some other value/interest, the newness and fascination of the bells and whistles will diminish fast.

Hence, content is STILL the bottom line — No matter which tech embroidered platform spouts it forth.

Today, publishers are presented with so many opportunities and innovations they often get overwhelmed and don’t know what to prioritize first. Readers, on the other hand, get so much free info and data offered that they get ‘information overload’.

Many feel that publishing’s main problem revolves around the fracas between digital and print.

However, one expert (who I will present tonight) believes ‘the real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership‘.

So, what does this mean?

Tonight’s source article from  of ClickZ is an interview with publishing industry guruBo Sacks. The interview delves into this concept of readership fragmentation due to new tech and what it means to publishers today:

Publishing Industry Guru Bo Sacks Shares Tips for 2014 Success

Hot off the heels of innovations and connected devices galore at CES, publishers have a world of opportunity in front of them. There’s so much opportunity it can often get difficult to decide what to prioritize first. For some insights and advice on 2014, we go straight to the ultimate expert in publisher success and sustainability: Bo Sacks.

JM: With so many innovations launching, (including the rise of content marketing), do publishers really need to think differently about the way they do business? Or, is all of this just noise?

Bo: The concept that “isn’t it really all the same as it ever was” is at the heart of the problem for all publishers. Many perceive that the whole problem just revolves around the battle between paper vs. digital substrates. That concept has distracted most professionals and isn’t at the core of the issue.

The real problem is diversity and fragmentation of our readership. And there are two factors going on here.

  1. Ease: There is just too much easy access to the a world of information. We all hold robust communication devices in our hands formally known as smartphones. These communicators empower anyone one to access information either on the fly on in the comfort of their own home. These instant portable electronic librarians offer the reading public limitless reading opportunities where none existed before. So we are reading more now than ever before, but not on traditional substrates.
  2. Mass: Publishers were once the best businesses at identifying groups and niches and selling them words and related materials based on their specific interest. What technology has done is to separate and disperse our old niches into sub-set camps of platform devotees. Where once Meredith had all of America’s housewives locked up in reading a single printed magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, now even the niche of housewife’s is broken into smaller subsets, as iPad reader, Kobo Reader, Kindle reader, and paper reader. This has broken the former single straight line to the reader into readers with multiple personalities, different needs and assorted commercial desires.

Article continues here — And you know you want to complete this publishing insight 🙂

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08/20/2013

Print Gaining Popularity with Twenty-Somethings; Digital with Septuagenarians! Say What?


2013 Tokyo International Book Fair — Where Young People Preferred Print!

Interesting survey by BookLive Co with revealing numbers. Could be what I suspected for some time, that print would not only not degrade to zero but would actually experience a rebirth of sorts in time, may be coming to fruition.

And the underlying reasons are perfectly understandable. The survey and resulting data came from this year’s Tokyo International Book Fair (TIBF) and can be extrapolated globally.

Why wouldn’t older folks welcome lower unit book costs, lighter weight, adjustable text for failing eyes and greater choice from one device?

Is print prancing again? Could be.

More details and numbers by Edward Nawotka (and Dennis Abrams) in Publishing Perspectives:

 

Japanese 20-yr-olds Favor Print, Septuagenarians Like Digital: Why?

 

A survey conducted at this year’s Tokyo International Book Fair revealed a surprising fact: more seniors than young people are open to using electronic books.

The Japan Times reports that close to 70% of Japanese in their 20s prefer traditional paper to digital books, while less than 50% of those in their 70s feel the same way, according to a survey conducted by BookLive Co., an ebook arm of Toppan Printing Co.

The results, according to the Times, also suggest that more seniors are ready to switch to ebooks if they see a clear advantage to them, such as lower cost.

When asked what they want from e-books, 52.5% said low price. And among those who have already taken the leap into ebooks, 70.4% wanted to have a greater range of titles available.

But the statistics can be deceiving. First, the survey looks at ebooks — not manga and comics — which dominate the digital market. Japanese consumers turned to digital manga for a very good reason, and it’s not one you might expect: the most popular titles are typically published in print in large, thick compendiums. The book is cumbersome to read, particularly for a commuter. The emergence of the digital manga made it much more convenient and easy to read these very popular editions.

Other books, such as novels, on the other hand, are typically printed in small, light, beautifully produced pocket-sized editions (often on beautiful paper, I might add). The books are appealing and easy to carry and read. This, coupled with no particular price advantage (ebooks are typically priced at 70% to 80% of print prices) means that print still hold much of their appeal.

Continued

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05/26/2013

Traditional Publishers’ Disinterest of Innovative Print Technologies Results in a Slow Death of ‘Print’


Weighing ‘Print’

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According to some highly educated and deeply experienced media professionals, traditional publishers are their own worst enemies Re the growing demise of print media. Perhaps TP’s have run away from print too early and not invested in new print technologies that are apparently begging to be expanded upon.

Even the “loss of physical books I can hold in my hand and smell” lamenting has not been enough to instill innovation in the present set of TP management to bring ‘print’ into the 21st century.

Tonight I’m introducing one of those highly educated/experienced personages mentioned above:

Andreas Weber , educated at Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz (Germany) — And Mainz, if you haven’t already guessed, is where the university’s famous namesake, who invented the first printing press, came from.

Key excerpts from Andreas to whet your appetite:

“However, the modern print-publisher is lacking vision and power for change. Though, over more then a generation ago specific solutions have been approached. Back then, in various places throughout the world, people developed the idea of revolutionising communication with media. IT, Web and print were seen as an integral part of a new communication culture.”

“Digital and analogue media don‘t contradict but build a new intermedia hybrid system.”

“The publishing industry is lacking contemporary ideas and motivation to innovate its core business with print, which is driven by digital communication technologies. Instead, they run behind on development and focus on third parties and their communication channels, which are used by publishers as ‘their new media’ to advertise in the old fashioned way.”

“Even though publishers are present in the digital world via apps and websites there is no innovative progress insight. If Google wouldn‘t bring the traffic and Apple wouldn‘t have given a platform via the iPad there would be no perspective on the subject of ‘digital content by
traditional publishers’.”

“Assuming printing is digital. Print and online are linked and form one unit. The targeted print media production is a just-in-time production. Print media products are created based on automated processes. Printed content will become more relevant, if it is customised to the customer’s request.”

“The publishing industry is lacking contemporary ideas and motivation to innovate its core business with print, which is driven by digital communication technologies.”

Now, this from Andreas Weber in Graphic Repro & Print:

News from Andreas Weber in the Gutenberg Galaxy

It started in Mainz and in Mainz it is supposed to continue. The ‘media.expo 2013’ promised new solutions and innovative tools for the publisher and media industry. The media.expo is one of many exhibitions with mainly the same content and promises for the print and media industry in Germany. The focus lies on speeches, discussions and networking of functional content.

In consideration of the current development of sales the publishing industry needs to wake-up. Even though publishers are present in the digital world via apps and websites there is no innovative progress insight. If Google wouldn‘t bring the traffic and Apple wouldn‘t
have given a platform via the iPad there would be no perspective on the subject of ‘digital content by
traditional publishers’.

Crucial: Publishers don‘t manage or develop their own intermedia communication systems. And they don‘t even use state-of-the-art communication channels in a bi-directional way to create interaction. Maybe they hate Wikipedia and the way Social Media is used by more than a billion of people? — Furthermore, they use a high proportion of their share of sales for the content creation and mostly ignore phenomenons like Twitter, Facebook or Blogs.

What is worse — publishers don‘t invest in their core business ‘print’ any more. An obvious disinterest of innovative print technologies results in a slow death of ‘print’.

But Innovation is the key. Through innovation of the print media products new markets can be entered. Back in the day Gutenberg was aware of this fact and changed the world with print. However, the modern print-publisher is lacking vision and power for change. Though, over more then a generation ago specific solutions have been approached. Back then, in various places throughout the world, people developed the idea of revolutionising communication with media. IT, Web and print were seen as an integral part of a new communication culture. The main drivers of this development were Xerox Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. They anticipated back in the 90s what is now possible: Digital and analogue media don‘t contradict but build a new intermedia hydrid system.

Read and learn more

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05/21/2013

Re Publishing: Single Platform Domination – Risk or Not?


Is the Kindle a challenge to book publishers?

Many print publishing business executives, authors, literary agents, editors, booksellers and distributors – as well as their counterparts in the digital publishing business – recently sat down at a roundtable to launch this year’s Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

Purpose of the roundtable? To plot a publishing industry survival story! (Which begs the question: Do we even need one?)

Even within this inner circle of professionals there is disagreement (and total misinterpretation on the part of some) of what the changing publishing landscape actually means.

Do the churning changes spell disaster or opportunity?

The title of this post was suggested by a fear expressed by Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarperCollins UK. She feels that “single platform domination” will be bad for the publishing industry.

Doesn’t she realize that ‘print’ was the single platform domination for the past 500 plus years! And that we are just recently being offered a choice of venues?

This piece by Robert Budden in The Financial Times dot com allows us into the roundtable and the minds of the attendees:

 

Publishing industry roundtable plots a survival story

Serial entrepreneur and Financial Times columnist Luke Johnson could be excused for having a pessimistic outlook on the publishing sector, having “lost a fortune” following his purchase of the UK arm of Borders, the book chain in 2007.

At a roundtable discussion to launch this year’s Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, the co-founder of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners says he “passionately” hopes books continue to prosper.

But, in references to GoogleAmazon and Apple, he warns that software “has become a very serious threat that may well eat” the publishing business.

Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarperCollins UK, probably speaks for many publishing executives when she highlights “single platform domination” as “the risk”. “I don’t think it was good for the record industry nor will it be good for publishing,” she says.

The conundrum for publishers is what to do about it.

Tim Harford, an author and also an FT columnist, says the industry needs to take action swiftly, especially in relation to the digital rights management (DRM) approaches of some ebook distributors that lock readers into their ecosystems.

“If you let Amazon and Apple lock in their devices, they are going to slaughter all of you,” he says, referring to book publishers and retailers.

Read and learn more

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10/05/2012

The Intra-Publishing Civil War


Print and Digital Media “Going At It”

What is the intra-publishing civil war, you ask?

It is the stress, fighting and positioning going on between the newer digital publishing aficionados and their legacy print publishing brethren. 

E-book authors still often hear “So, you don’t write real books?”  And money? The majority is still being brought in through print medium.

But, the e-books are pulling in more and more money and increasing their percentages in all areas — resulting in the newcomers brashly asserting that old publishing is dead. More importantly, digital publishing has opened the door to new very successful genres thought unprofitable before by traditional publishers.

This publishing intrigue has been in play in varying degrees for a while, lets watch some of the latest progress as reported by Aleksandr Voinov  in USA TODAY:

Publishing is dead — long live publishing

No day passes without yet another skirmish in what could be seen as a kind of intra-publishing civil war, where the newcomers brashly assert that old publishing is dead and traditional publishing refuses to die. Meanwhile, old publishing continues to account for the majority of all books sold in brick-and-mortar stores, and e-book authors still face the “So you don’t write real books?” questions when they go to conventions and interact with friends and family, most of whom were exposed to e-books only when they received an e-reader last Christmas.

We are in flux. I’m saying “civil war” because here, too, the lines are messy, sides change all the time, and so do positions. Thankfully, there’s less bloodshed, but the implications for the publishing industry and how we write, read, market and interact with each other are enormous. It’s not tidy, it is at times exasperating, and nobody can predict where it’s going — only that e-books are growing, authors are making a good living off e-books, the books on offer are often more colorful and sometimes weirder and “uncommercial” when compared with legacy publishing, and e-books are heralding the creation of whole new genres that legacy publishing, in its necessities of scale, had never truly been able to support.

For example, 10 years ago, I was told that gay romance was unsellable, and was strongly advised by several agents and print acquiring editors to not waste my talent in a niche without a future or financial viability.

Ten years later, I’m not only a writer of gay/bi/trans fiction, but I also part-own Riptide Publishing, a hot young start-up selling GBLTQ stories with a focus on romance. A gay historical romance, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, recently won the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction (and, predictably, faced the critical derision our genre seems doomed to). One of Riptide’s own titles, Stars & Stripes, recently made it into the Barnes & Noble sitewide Top 100. Riptide Publishing is celebrating its first anniversary this month, and already, half a dozen or more of our authors are earning a living off their royalties. So much for gay romance being “unsellable.”

Where many see dangers and change, and some large players are frankly still in denial or trying to turn back the wheel by deliberately making e-books unattractive or too expensive or too hard to find in worldwide markets, other authors and start-ups are creating facts. Being more nimble and more in tune with our readership, small e-book-first presses such as Riptide back genres and books that others find unviable. Overhead is lower, processes are less entrenched, and staff are often younger and steeped more thoroughly in the digital culture. They follow their passions, even when those passions are unlikely to appeal to a mass market. They take risks.

Read and learn more

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07/16/2012

S and M = Sadomasochism or Serious Money?


50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (pictured)

Sadomasochism (deriving sexual pleasure by giving or receiving rough sex pain) has never been a favorite pastime of mine — But, it is a hot, in-demand, reading topic since ’50 Shades of Grey’ hit the shelves in the U.S. about four months ago.

‘With more than 20 million copies sold in four months in the U.S., the erotic Fifty Shades trilogy seems to be giving mouth-to-mouth to the barely breathing book industry—and slipping in some tongue for good measure. The series accounted for one in five adult print books sold this spring, so it makes sense that publishers are scrambling to reproduce its success.’

These interesting details and numbers are provided by Lizzie Crocker in The Daily Beast

Publishing Looks for S&M

With more than 20 million copies sold in four months in the U.S., the erotic Fifty Shades trilogy seems to be giving mouth-to-mouth to the barely breathing book industry—and slipping in some tongue for good measure. The series accounted for one in five adult print books sold this spring, so it makes sense that publishers are scrambling to reproduce its success.

“E.L. James has opened up these genres to a whole new subset of readers who might not have previously been familiar with them,” said Paul Bogaards, executive vice president of Knopf, whose imprint, Vintage, publishes Fifty Shades. Sylvia Day’s Bared to You, an erotic romance with Grey-like themes (emotionally burdened characters and rough sex), has climbed to the top 10 on several bestseller lists. Originally self-published in April, Bared to You was picked up a month later by Berkley Books and marketed as a Fifty Shades clone, down to its gray book jacket featuring a pair of cuff links and the tagline: “He possessed me and obsessed me.”

Day insists Bared to You is different from Fifty Shades because it’s not a Cinderella story, but she didn’t fight Berkley’s marketing strategy and even thanked E.L. James in the back of the book.

Fifty Shades has absolutely contributed to sales,” said Day, whose previous bestselling book, Bad Boys Ahoy!, sold about 9,000 copies. Bared to You has already sold roughly 10 times that number.

Read and learn more

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07/05/2012

Is News Corp. Really Throwing its Publishing Ops Under the Bus ?


Throwing Print Publishing Under The Bus ?

Ole Rupert is actually being forced by financial forces to break off News Corp.’s print publishing arm from the rest of his media empire — But, could this bring about an unintended method to their madness at the end of the day (also forced) ?

 
The decreasing financial numbers being earned by News Corp.’s publishing arm all point to the eventual failure of this entity if left to operate on its own without any type of other financial shoring up as was provided by News Corp.’s other digital and entertainment arms. 
 
This forced separation, however, could just be the igniter of the needed ingenuity that could revive print just out of the adrenalin of survival.
 
Lets get inside some numbers and forecasts provided by Diane Mermigas in the Business Insider:

Splitting News Corp. Means Shoring up – or Shipping Out – Print Ops

News Corp.’s decision to throw its publishing operations under the bus in a division of assets is a shortsighted effort to pacify shareholders disgruntled with a year-long phone-hacking scandal in Britain and declining stock price that could blunt the newspapers’ digital survival.

Is it realistic to expect a pure-play publishing company to do more experimenting with digital business models than it does now? News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch promises the standalone entity will have “a robust net cash position” for potential acquisitions. But where will the investment funds come from? 

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who has been loath to spin-off his beloved newspaper operations, says the stand-alone entity will have “a robust net cash position” for potential acquisitions. 

Nomura Securities analyst Michael Nathanson estimates the publishing business will have $362 million in profit in fiscal 2012 and a value of about $2.6 billion, or 7% of News Corp.’s current market cap. By comparison, News Corporation’s entertainment business will earn $3.1 billion in fiscal 2012 and could be the highest-growth portfolio in media, valued at about $52.5 billion–nearly the same as the existing company. 

Barclay’s Anthony DeClemente expects as much as $2 billion of News Corp.’s estimated $11 billion in cash will go with publishing to mitigate $1.5 billion in debt and an estimated $330 million in phone hacking-related legal expenses. Even with double-digit declines in ebitda, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield expects publishing free cash flow to remain positive in fiscal 2015. 

Still, those numbers speak more to getting by than getting on. 

The publishing company will not likely seek another $5 billion deal like its purchase of  Dow Jones in 2007, which was heavily written down and whose estimated value has deteriorated. But it will need to continuously invest in innovative digital applications and business models to better monetize its unique data and information. 

The WSJ, as it is expected to be rebranded, is aggressively making variations of its content available to users through their device of choice to avoid the huge reader exodus spurred by The Times of London‘s hard pay wall tactics. 

Wall Street Journal readers can “subscribe” for a few dollars a month to specific news channels through premium sources, such as Water Cooler, the Political Report and the Technology Digest in a unique revenue-sharing arrangement between Dow Jones, aggregator Pulse and Apple, which demands about one-third of money generated from apps on its devices.

Read and learn more

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05/20/2012

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants


Measuring Emotional Response To Media Platforms

Time Inc. has performed a study (a biometric study, no less) that measured, in real time, the emotional responses and attention spans of viewers to content in various platforms: magazines, smartphones, radio, TV, computer, newspaper, tablets.

Guess which platform ranked the highest ?

But first, a little definition time:

Digital Native – Consumers who grew up with mobile and digital technology as part of their everyday lives.

Digital Immigrant – Consumers who encountered and used digital media later in their adult lives.

Biometrics – The process by which a person’s unique physical or emotional traits are detected and recorded by an electronic device or system (e.g. scanning of the human iris in identification or measuring degrees of emotional responses). 

Understanding the results of the viewing patterns, attention spans (and what can hold them) and emotional responses to media content experienced over different platforms can be valuable in successful publishing — Both for ad sponsored, recurring content media AND, by extension, for writing, marketing and selling books.

More detailed analysis by Bill Mickey of Folio magazine’s Audience Development Spring 2012 Report:  

Time Inc. Measures Consumers’ Emotional Response to Media

‘Digital natives’ switch media 27 times per hour, but emotionally tied to mags.

If publishers think they’ve been covering the bases with an anytime, anywhere content strategy, they might be shocked to learn the results of a recent Time Inc. study conducted with Innerscope Research. Digital Natives, defined as consumers who grew up with mobile and digital technology as part of their everyday lives, switch their attention between media platforms an astonishing 27 times per hour.

That was one of the key findings of the study, called “A Biometric Day in the Life,” which used biometric monitoring and point-of-view camera glasses to follow the media habits of 30 individuals during 300 hours’ worth of media consumption. Biometric belts measured their emotional responses to various media platforms and the glasses recorded what platform they were viewing.

The other half of the study group consisted of Digital Immigrants, people who encountered and used digital media in their adult lives, who, predictably, have a more mellow media consumption patterns.

“Technology is shaping so much of how people think about media, use media, combine media,” say Besty Frank, Time Inc.’s chief research and insights officer. “We’ve started to think about all of these changes in the media specifically as they impact the notion of storytelling. We felt that the biometrics would add a new dimension to what we knew about how people use media and what the implications are for how we run our businesses and how we and our clients communicate with consumers.”

The study was particularly interesting, adds Barry Martin, Time Inc.’s executive director of consumer research and insights, because of the ability to record a subject’s emotions as they consumed their media. “We’ve done a lot of biometric work in media labs, but we’ve never been able to do it as they were going about their daily lives,” he says.

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