Archive for April, 2014

Digital is Here to Stay

In 2013 most Americans got their news and information in some form of digital media, according to the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project State of the News Media 2014. The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world

According to the 2014 report, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device.

Uniquely digital sites are still a small part of the publishing industry, but the digital audience is continuing to eat into the readership figures of the legacy (print) news organizations.

News magazines continue to face a difficult print advertising environment. Ad pages sold across the publishing industry continue to decrease, with revenue from strictly digital sources not yet taking up the slack, but the numbers are on an upward trajectory. Total digital ad spending rose to $42.6 billion in 2013, a 15.7% increase over 2012.

Tablet pc showing magazine on screen with a cup of coffee on a d

An interesting development that is becoming increasingly apparent is the explosion in “content marketing” (also known as native advertising) as a revenue stream. The creation of targeted editorial content paid for by advertisers which is hardly distinguishable from hard news is an interesting development, but care has to be taken to maintain the integrity of the finished product in order for the journalism to be credible. eMarketer predicts that native ads spending will reach $2.85 billion by 2014. One unfortunate byproduct of catering to and tailoring information to a particular audience is the risk that this model narrows the kinds of information that consumers are exposed to.

Digital Magazines are a Growth Industry

2013 showed notable growth in digital publishing, and the trend continues. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, digital edition circulations as a whole were up 61% year on year and the number of digital editions audited increased by 52%.

Reaching a large audience over multiple platforms is obviously the goal for most print and digital publishers. The growing diversity of touch-points and digital platforms is a great opportunity for publishers to identify new markets and target specific audiences.

The maturation of the tablet market and the constant development of new technologies that enable content to be created, managed and disseminated faster than ever, mean that magazines as they have always been known will not remain that way.

Newspaper or magazine from tablet pc

One thing that’s particularly interesting about this newly emerging model is that it makes it much easier to build a strong relationship with a reader community.  Unfortunately, this advantage is neutralized by the fact that making money in magazine publishing is not as easy as it once was. It is thought that magazine margins used to be in the region of 40 to 60 percent.

Targeting a specific market makes it much easier to connect with a community that is passionate about the same things and that could be one of the biggest benefits of the entire digital model, but there is a lot of work ahead.