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Publishing 2033

Predicting the future can be a thankless task, but here is what our sector might look like in ten years’ time…

By James Evelegh

Publishing 2033

In the upcoming September/October issue of InPublishing magazine, we’re running a special feature on ‘new subscriber acquisition’, with input from publishers and suppliers. (Not on our free mailing list? Register here; it only takes a couple of minutes.)

As part of the feature, we asked our contributors, ‘What do you think the world of new subscriber acquisition will look like in 2033?’

Without wanting to totally steal their thunder, this is the world they and I imagined…

It will be a world of hyper-personalisation, with AI and machine learning underpinning our marketing and editorial systems, resulting in the precise targeting of marketing offers and communications as well as content delivery.

People won’t “subscribe” to our titles and will no longer be passive recipients of whatever we deign to put out. Instead, they will be active “members” in dynamic and flourishing communities centred around our brands.

Members will be logged on, in constant touch with us and with each other and will feel a sense of ownership of the community they are part of.

Publishers will take great care to nurture these communities and be ever respectful of the membership and their sensibilities.

Members will enjoy an ever-expanding bundle of extras from us, including newsletters, e-commerce, forums, events and exclusive access to key publishing staff.

Members will also create content to share with the community.

The relationship will be presumed to be long term, auto-renewable and high value.

The content we create and which they share, like and comment on will be brought to life like never before, enriched with audio, video and augmented and virtual reality.

It will be immersive, engaging and of the highest quality.

Audio and video snippets from what we and our communities create will constantly be flowing around the arteries of the digital world, bolstering our brands and extending our reach.

Ethical concerns such as data privacy, sustainability, diversity and inclusion will have long ceased to be the talking points they are now because publishers will be, as a matter of course, privacy literate, net-zero, diverse and inclusive.

Technical advances in subscription management software and platforms will mean that functionality like single customer view, customer self-service, marketing automation and tech-stack connectedness, currently on many marketers wish-lists will come as standard.

Much of what will be commonplace in 2033 happens now in some shape or form within pockets of excellence across our industry. The difference is that in ten years’ time, all of the above, will be done by all of us, all of the time.

Exciting times ahead. Bring it on.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.