Busi­ness Mod­els

The Insider - - PAID CONTENT -

There are so many dif­fer­ent mon­e­ti­za­tion mod­els avail­able to­day, it’s no won­der so many pub­lish­ers are con­fused about which ones are right for them. Tak­ing a look at the most com­mon ones…

Print isn’t dead yet al­though the last rites are be­ing read over some newsprint. There will al­ways be a place for print with some read­ers;

One of the big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing pub­lish­ers to­day is how to mon­e­tize the masses with the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of ad block­ers and peo­ple’s will­ing­ness to pay for dig­i­tal news trend­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.

I like to com­pare them to mu­sic afi­ciona­dos who still pur­chase vinyl records – a highly dis­cern­ing crowd, but not a mar­ket loaded with money.

Dig­i­tal edi­tions are see­ing some re­vival in the in­dus­try, but with the grow­ing mis­trust in main­stream me­dia, it’s hard to see a pros­per­ous fu­ture for this form of paid con­tent in the long term.

Me­tered and hard pay­walls have largely plateaued. Even the poster child of pay­walls, The New York Times with one mil­lion+ dig­i­tal sub­scribers, has seen its growth flat­ten in re­cent years.

Free con­tent ag­gre­ga­tion ser­vices that rely on ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue (e.g. Face­book In­stant Ar­ti­cles, Ap­ple News, Snapchat Dis­cover, etc.) can bring value in terms of con­tent reach, but they also bring risks, such as the for­fei­ture of con­tent con­trol, the po­ten­tial loss of ad­ver­tiser loy­alty, brand degra­da­tion, ed­i­to­rial and ad­ver­to­rial cen­sor­ship and less and less rea­son for read­ers to visit a pub­lisher’s web­site again.

Paid con­tent ag­gre­ga­tion ser­vices in­clude:

- News­stands (Google Play, Ama­zon, Zinio)

- “iTunes for news” (e.g. Blen­dle)

- “Net­flix for news” (e.g. PressReader, Readly, Magzter)

Some of th­ese plat­forms of­fer freemium mod­els, but when a reader wants to read pre­mium con­tent, they’ll have to pay for it. That be­ing said, given the spend­ing trends of read­ers, it’s un­likely that pub­lish­ers can sur­vive on the de­clin­ing num­ber of news junkies will­ing to cough up the cash.

Now don’t get me wrong. I be­lieve that qual­ity jour­nal­ism should come with a price; I just don’t think the read­ers should nec­es­sar­ily be the ones to pay it. Let some­one else pay through spon­sored ac­cess.

One form of spon­sored ac­cess hap­pens be­tween pub­lish­ers and their ad­ver­tis­ers, where the ad­ver­tis­ers who pro­vide qual­ity and rel­e­vant ads within the is­sue pay on be­half of read­ers for ac­cess to that pre­mium pub­li­ca­tion.

An­other form of spon­sored ac­cess that is gain­ing se­ri­ous mo­men­tum world­wide is with ho­tels, air­lines, restau­rants, cruise ships, cor­po­rate of­fices and li­braries. To­day, thou­sands of th­ese cus­tomer-first busi­nesses such as Qan­tas Air­ways, Ac­corHo­tels, Uber, Sil­versea Cruises and the Li­brary of Congress, to name just a few, are spon­sor­ing un­lim­ited ac­cess to thou­sands of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers.

Not only does it pro­vide high value to their tar­get mar­kets and help busi­nesses dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from dis­rup­tive com­pe­ti­tion, it just makes dol­lars and sense to them.

The busi­ness model is simple. It costs noth­ing for pub­lish­ers to join and when some­one (i.e. a spon­sor such as a ho­tel or air­line) pays for con­tent read by their ho­tel guests or air­line pas­sen­gers, the pub­lisher gets paid.

It’s a win-win-win sit­u­a­tion all around:

- Read­ers get the de­sired fric­tion­less ac­cess to qual­ity, trusted con­tent and an en­gag­ing, ed­u­ca­tional or en­ter­tain­ing experience for free;

- Busi­nesses are able to of­fer unique value to their cus­tomers in an eco-friendly way, sav­ing money while grow­ing brand eq­uity and loy­alty across all de­mo­graph­ics;

- Pub­lish­ers can in­stantly serve a mas­sive au­di­ence of hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple they couldn’t pos­si­bly reach on their own, grow­ing reach, au­dited circulation and rev­enues.

Pil­lars for profit

We’re liv­ing in an in­dus­try where the only con­stant seems to be dis­rup­tion of ev­ery­thing we’ve held dear for decades. It’s no won­der fear in­fil­trates al­most ev­ery as­pect of our busi­ness – fear of change, fear of ad block­ers, fear of can­ni­bal­iza­tion, fear of brand ir­rel­e­vancy and, let’s face it, fear of ex­tinc­tion it­self.

But in­stead of be­ing par­a­lyzed by that fear, take heart in the fact that:

- Au­di­ences have a huge ap­petite for qual­ity con­tent and al­ways will

- Op­por­tu­ni­ties for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion with new rev­enue pos­si­bil­i­ties are there for the tak­ing

- Reader - and pub­lisher - friendly busi­ness mod­els are avail­able for ev­ery pub­lisher, re­gard­less of con­tent type, size or re­gion.

Au­di­ence First + Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion + the Right Busi­ness Mod­els are the three pil­lars to a suc­cess­ful mon­e­ti­za­tion strat­egy. Em­brace them with a new pas­sion that will lead you to prof­itabil­ity!

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