Get With the Times!
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?