Get With the Times!

The Insider - - CONTENT -


Imag­ine if you could buy milk in only one su­per­mar­ket chain. A sta­ple food found in al­most ev­ery house­hold and part of the hu­man diet for mil­len­nia, milk is an im­por­tant source of pro­tein, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als and an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent for a nu­tri­tious and healthy life­style. It’s not just what the in­dus­try is telling us; most of us be­lieve it to be true.

But what if a milk pro­ducer de­cided to limit the sale of its pop­u­lar dairy prod­uct to just one chain of gro­cery stores. I know what you’re think­ing - why would a busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive in their right mind do that? It’s bad for cus­tomers and bad for the busi­ness. It makes no sense.

Okay, now let’s ap­ply the same anal­ogy to news con­tent. Qual­ity and trusted con­tent is an es­sen­tial part of ev­ery demo­cratic so­ci­ety. And as the cre­ators and guardians of that con­tent pub­lish­ers serve a very im­por­tant role. But by not work­ing with dis­trib­uted con­tent plat­forms, and in­stead, in­ter­nal­iz­ing dis­tri­bu­tion, some pub­lish­ers are ef­fec­tively say­ing that they want to limit the dis­tri­bu­tion of their prod­uct to a select few. Does this make sense? No!

So why am I writ­ing you about this to­day? It is be­cause just last week, when ques­tion­ing why a cer­tain piece of con­tent wasn’t avail­able through dis­trib­uted plat­forms, the re­sponse that I re­ceived from one pub­lisher was that they wanted to only sell their con­tent to con­sumers directly and not to read­ers in any other chan­nels, such as li­braries, ho­tels, air­lines, taxis and the like.

It wasn’t about cost or price; it was about the pub­lisher choos­ing what dif­fer­ent read­ers were al­lowed to read. Does this make any sense to you? Do you see this strat­egy as be­ing sus­tain­able in the long term? I think not.

To­day, cus­tomer-first com­pa­nies such as Qan­tas Air­ways, Ac­corHo­tels, Sil­versea Cruises, the New York Pub­lic Li­brary and Uber have made spon­sored ac­cess to news­pa­per and mag­a­zine con­tent an in­te­gral part of their cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship strat­egy be­cause it makes dol­lars and sense to them; and it is a win-win-win sit­u­a­tion for all:

• Read­ers en­joy fric­tion­less ac­cess to qual­ity, trusted con­tent and an en­gag­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence for free

• Busi­nesses can of­fer unique value to cus­tomers across all de­mo­graph­ics, grow­ing brand eq­uity and loy­alty • Pub­lish­ers get in­stant ac­cess to a mas­sive au­di­ence of hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple they couldn’t reach on their own, while grow­ing brand aware­ness, au­dited cir­cu­la­tion and rev­enues

• If the pub­lisher’s goal is to ig­nore read­ers, that’s fine; read­ers will, in turn, ig­nore that pub­lisher. But if a pub­lisher’s goal is to grow and nur­ture an­other gen­er­a­tion of read­ers who can’t imag­ine a day with­out their pub­li­ca­tion, why wouldn’t they want to give ev­ery per­son, re­gard­less of their de­mo­graphic or lo­ca­tion, the op­por­tu­nity to fall in love with their con­tent and their brand - and get paid for it

Is it be­cause, heaven for­bid, that their brand is more im­por­tant to them than their read­ers – the very peo­ple who are their rai­son d’être?

It’s time for some pub­lish­ers to get with the times! What do you think?

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