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Digital Publishing Challenges for 2017

John Rahim’s article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2017

By John Rahim

Digital Publishing Challenges for 2017

Many publishers are predicting that 2017 may be the year when the humble digital edition finally comes of age. 2016 might be remembered as:

• a year of consolidation within the digital magazine arena with some notable software companies changing their strategy

• the growth of off-platform publishing decreasing digital advertising revenues despite massively increase their reach

Monetisation of content also remained front of mind for many publishers as they increasingly diversify and find new avenues to market their brand and their content.

This predicament is partially due to the market becoming increasingly fragmented over the past few years, and the ways that consumers are accessing content has become more diverse. Whilst providing always-on multi-channel brand access for consumers has brought many user benefits, this has caused enormous challenges for publishers.

Publishers now need to think how to reuse their print content across multiple touch points such as social, mobile web, app and desktop. This content needs to be created in a fast and efficient manner. Increased efficiencies in production do not necessarily mean stifling creativity – far from it! This provides a creative challenge to publishers on how best to distribute and repurpose content whilst creating increased user engagement through engaging content.

The ideal scenario is to create the content using a centralised independent content creation platform. This would allow publishers to create multi-channel content across print, web, native app and social feeds from a centralised source thus ensuring a highly efficient workflow. Media owners who publish newspapers, which are updated on an hourly basis, tend to use such systems. However, this approach has not been widely adopted yet by traditional publishers, many of whom still work in an unstructured manner.

If publishers are not using a centralised content hub for the management of their media, the key question is how to structure their content for use across multiple platforms, and how to do this efficiently.

This issue is compounded by the fact that over 80% of digital content is read on smartphones and, increasingly, consumers are not willing to pay for content. So, publishers need to combat this by ensuring that the content not only fits to the device of choice but is also engaging. Value added services, such as continuous publishing which updates digital editions on a regular basis, help to reinforce value and relevancy.

This reinforces the trend that consumers now are looking for bite-sized snackable content that they can read whilst they commute or during a coffee break. This short-form content can stand alone from their digital edition encouraging users to delve deeper into their long-form content in archives or digital editions.