2014 was a pivotal year for technology, bringing the rise of the ‘phablet’, an increase in demand for wearable technology and dramatic changes in the way readers consume digital content. So what does this mean for the publishing industry in 2015? Here at Page Lizard, we’ve whipped out our crystal ball and have rounded up our Digital Publishing predictions for the next year.
1 – The advertising industry will finally get to grips with tablet and mobile ads
It has taken a long time, but we predict that 2015 will be the year that we start to see some traction from advertisers and their creative agencies within digital publishing. There has been an industry-wide reluctance to invest in tablet and mobile advertising, but the tide seems to be turning with some of the publishers we are speaking to. Could this be the year that there is a tablet and mobile advertising explosion? We think so!
2 – ‘BYOD’ policies will transform digital education
‘Bring your own device’ is the latest buzzword in classrooms, but this is a trend we believe is here to stay. The ‘iPad in every classroom’ dream was doomed to failure due to the prohibitive costs for schools on a budget, but with smartphone and tablet ownership among teenagers at a whopping 85%, opening educational resources to work on any device will be the key for publishers hoping to crack the education market.
3 – Android’s market domination will continue
The hottest tablet trends on the Christmas markets tend towards the more affordable models such as Tesco’s Hudl2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S. This continues to have huge implications for the digital publishing industry, making responsive, compatible publishing solutions all the more necessary. Sceptical? Check out the facts and figures about Android’s market domination – it’s a platform that can no longer be ignored.
4 – The ‘monthly’ model will be overturned
This mainly applies to traditional magazines who currently publish their magazines on a monthly basis. Engagement amongst users is much more effective with regular updates, so we predict that there will be a significant move away from bulk-publishing content. Forward-thinking publishers will instead turn towards continuous publishing models, which in turn will continue to evolve to the needs and changing behaviours of the reader.
5 – Audio will become a serious contender
For every e- and print book and magazine advert we see, there are an equal number of adverts for audio books. People are keen to listen to material, whether that’s a podcast about molecules from their favourite magazine, or a novel narrated by a celebrity. For publishers, having audio options available will be a necessity to stay ahead in the popularity stakes. This applies to everyone, from the large publishing houses to small independent publishers and organisations with journals and magazines.
6 – The heat will turn up on subscription models
The viability of the subscription model will really be put to the test this year. From Readly’s ‘Spotify for magazines’ type business model to the launch of Amazon’s ‘Kindle Unlimited’, there are certainly plenty of companies to keep an eye on. The jury is still out about the longevity of the subscription model, but we think its fate will be sealed by the time the year is out, for better or for worse.
7 – Facebook will jump on the publishing bandwagon
We’ve not seen any attempts from Facebook to join the publishing fray since their ill-fated attempt at ‘Notes’; a feature that has been more or less forgotten about since the launch of the ‘Timeline’ in 2011. There are now low-level rumours that Zuckerberg has his eye on getting Facebook up to speed with other digital publishing platforms like Tumblr and Buzzfeed. Subtle jumps towards this goal can already be seen, with hashtags and ‘trending’ news already allowing users to keep up to date with what others are talking about. If Facebook can crack publishing, 2015 could be a very interesting year indeed…
8 – Patterns of desktop/mobile usage will become more pronounced
We’re not waving goodbye to digital publishing for desktop yet, purely because so many of us like to have a sneaky read during work hours (yes…we have the statistics to show we’ve noticed that slip in concentration at 4pm!). However, there are distinctive patterns of behaviour between mobile and desktop usage that the smartest publishers are beginning to play to. Are most of your readers flicking through their phones before bedtime? Don’t be afraid to change the way you publish content to fit that! This is the beauty of analytics, and we think that readers will see much smarter content delivery in the coming year.
9 – Apple will face serious challenges to its publishing crown
2015 will be the make-or-break year for Apple’s grip on Digital Publishing. The company has faced serious criticism over the lack of development or maintenance for Newsstand, which in turn has stalled digital subscriptions for publishers. There is also an increasing trend among publishers new to digital to look for web-based solutions, rather than taking the traditional app store route. Adobe’s decision to remove access to its single edition solutions to all but premium members isn’t helping the situation. Watch this space!
10 – The ‘phablet’ phenomenon will make HTML solutions vital
There was an unprecedented rise in the demand for mobiles with larger and larger screen sizes in 2014. Laptops, tablets and phones are all merging together, with consumers expecting flawless functionality across the board. The implications of this trend for digital publishing should not be underestimated; cross-platform HTML solutions which resize and reflow to any screen size are necessary investments for publishers seeking futureproof digital solutions.
So there you have it…our ten predictions for 2015. Do you agree? Have you got any predictions of your own? Tweet us @pagelizard!