You would be hard-pressed to identify an industry that has undergone more change in a very short period of time than the publishing industry. In the past—dominated by print media and publications like Time and Sport Illustrated—the challenges of the publisher were far less complex. The model to success was relatively simple to chart and once a publisher struck gold, the road ahead remained relatively free of threat. Furthermore, the entry barrier for emerging voices was extremely high, leaving many people looking to communicate their message out in the cold.
The emergence of the Internet and the world of mobile devices, has changed this world forever. Being an exclusive print publication is no longer enough. The Web has also opened the door to a host of new voices that previously were relegated to the sidelines. With the publishing world forever altered, what new trends should we be looking at going forward? MIVA provides a glimpse.
The Online Community
In years past, publishers had their own community of readers, all united by the publisher and a common interest, be it business, sports or technology. Under this model, the flow of information was one way with the publication introducing the content for the consumer’s consumption. Once the final page was turned, readers would await the next issue.
The advent of the Internet spurred the massive transformation of this once dominant model. Specifically, the community we once knew has moved to the Web. What was once a dynamic based on a one way communication and ruled by a fairly small and exclusive group of participants (i.e., magazine and newspaper publishers) has gone the way of the pen and quill.
The Web has introduced a limitless “publishing” potential and made it possible for just about anyone to create their own offering, and in turn, a new online community. Additionally, the Internet is interactive and as so, encourages members, both publishers and readers, to exchange thoughts and ideas back and forth, in real-time. Publications once relegated to the print medium and then a complementary online entity, now offer additional real-time content through blogs.
Have a breaking news story? No need to wait for tomorrow’s paper or a complete article, the blog entry delivers instant updates. Have a comment on an article? Contact the author through their blog and get instant feedback, even engage in an ongoing discussion that can be opened up to a greater audience. Have an opinion? Join a discussion group or better yet, start your own blog where you can have it viewed and commented on by others, resulting in a real-time community environment.
The continued emergence of new publishers and the widespread growth of a more conversational dialog therein will continue to grow unabated.
Online Revenue Generation
At one time, the revenue generation model for publishers was relatively straightforward. The competition was intense, but it was not difficult to see where your revenue was coming from. In a nutshell, publications sold advertising and subscriptions. This was where the money came from and what determined its long-term viability. Needless to say, in recent years this model has taken on a variety of new layers.