COMMENT 

July / August issue – takeaways

James Evelegh's editorial from this week's edition of InPubWeekly.

By James Evelegh

July / August issue – takeaways

The July / August issue of InPublishing magazine was published last week (if you want to be added to our free mailing list for future issues, register here).

For me, four themes stood out: 1. The new seriousness. Not so long ago, a common response to circulation decline was to dumb down; nowadays, it’s as likely to be, to smarten up. The Sunday Post’s efforts to revive its fortunes have centred on investigative journalism and tackling meaty subjects. 2. The power of great journalism. Putting aside the costs of financing investigative journalism for a moment, there’s lots of recent evidence of its enduring power for good. The uncovering of the Windrush and Cambridge Analytica scandals was thanks to superb journalism and has led to significant changes to home office procedures and data protection, respectively. 3. Flexible paywalls are the future. The previous binary choice of ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ paywall is rapidly being replaced with something altogether more sophisticated. New ‘flexible’ paywalls change access settings in real time, based on a combination of visitor profile, publisher strategy, and accumulated machine learning on user behaviour, so as to achieve optimum conversion rates. 4. We can be disruptive too. For far too long, the publishing sector has seemed to be at the mercy of digital disruptors, standing impotently by as pure-play digital rivals stole our lunch. As Centaur’s Andria Vidler told the PPA Festival, the best publishers are taking back control of their own destiny, no longer obsessing over preserving legacy revenue streams but feeling confident enough to disrupt their own business models.

Certainly, it seems that successful B2B companies, perhaps more so than their consumer and news media cousins, have truly found their feet in the new digital world. Good for them.