Media experts discuss publishing revenue models at Digital Media Strategies ’17

Generating fresh, interesting content that is relevant is no easy feat. Editorial teams can often find themselves spending laborious hours researching, writing, and chasing deadlines. In such a fast-paced and competitive environment – the last thing that publishers need is the uncertainty of revenue acquisition.

At the recent Digital Media Strategies ’17 event, a panel of media experts discussed the need for discovering new revenue streams – advertising has been relied on too heavily in the past and has proven itself unsustainable. Representatives from the likes of Hearst Magazines UK, Dennis and Future Plc examined the avenues that publishers are exploring

Penny Ladkin-Brand, Future Plc’s CFO mentioned;

“There’s a lot of headwinds around digital advertising right now. That’s why we’re focusing on diversifying our product portfolio”.

Assets gathered over time, such as pre-existing membership databases, should be used to focus on promoting new revenue sources – other than advertising. eCommerce is a potential goldmine for attracting revenue.

Dennis publishing is using eCommerce to catapult their brands. Their acquisition of buyacar has become a significant revenue generator which meets the needs of both publisher and audience. The key to making eCommerce work is proper planning and managing relationships well.

Paul Lomax, CTO of Dennis Publishing, comments on their strategy;

“Our model is more trying to make a sustainable growth model where once we apply marketing to it will be cash generative. What we’re just started doing is leveraging our automotive titles… we’ve got a really great asset there.

“People do want to transaction online now. We’ve always been wary of how a transaction model would work [alongside advertising]. Is that going to reduce the value of advertising for the advertising partners? We’ve found it can work if it’s targeted well.”

But this doesn’t count out the essence of editorial expertise – in fact, it is fundamental for revenue diversifications. How?

Duncan Chater, CRO of Hearst Magazine, explains;

“We now have a diverse range of events… lots of different ways for partners to engage with us and for us to take extra revenue direct from consumers. The consumer is an area that’s been growing massively. A lot of advertisers want to get involved in some way It’s really allowing us to use our expertise. Last year we launched Esquire Town House and that really gave us the opportunity to use Esquire’s deep contacts.”

The strategy requires a high level of expertise, planning and conducive teamwork to ensure a lucrative vertical product is produced without losing the foundations of a great content – which is ultimately purposed for the audience.

Building new products around a luxury brand is one of the strategies top publishers have been exploring, but not all publishers have this opportunity. Strategies need to be applied to individual businesses in a way that meets their model and diversification capabilities.

What does this digital strategy mean for publishers?

The strategy of eCommerce seems to be a potentially lucrative revenue model for publishers who are willing and able to explore this route. TimeInc. has already taken the eCommerce bull by the horns – this is something that Michel Koch will be discussing at our Media Reinvented event next week.

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