Over the past six months, I have watched a transformation in the publishing space regarding the acceptance and integration of digital publishing as a credible channel. Magazine publishers have found themselves in an interesting place. They need to find creative ways to reach and engage consumers and satisfy cautious advertisers in a down market. Just like e-mail never replaced direct mail, digital publishing will never replace print, but it does offer a significant number of options and advantages that help reduce costs, grow revenues and sustain profit margins.
They say that in recessionary times, innovation excels. This recession is no different. Whether you are a digital publishing veteran, or new to the space, you should make sure you are capitalizing on the top benefits that digital publishing offers, and looking for way to engage your digital publishing partner to help you excel.
First, digital publishing leverages cost efficiency. Similar to the cost benefit analysis between e-mail and direct mail, digital publishing simply costs less. The hosting and delivery fees associated with a digital publication are significantly lower than the cost of postage (even at the best rates). Add on to that the elimination of distribution fees, paper costs and printing fees, and you can immediately see operational savings that go right to the bottom line.
Digital publishing also monetizes unlimited inventory. It translates to operating profit from day one. Unlimited inventory means you can sell as many copies of your current issue as you would like, without having to worry about returning unsold copies. With a digital version, you can also immediately monetize back issues and archived editions — content people would pay a premium for. I often wonder about resurrecting back issues of a once-loved title digitally, to see how much interest and revenue there could be.
Finally, digital publishing shows that you accept generational realities and technological advances. My 6th grader daughter’s basic classes include Podcasting, PowerPoint, Photoshop and Access. People often talk about how digitally the next generation is being brought up. Well, it’s true. Not one homework assignment comes home that doesn’t require using the Internet or her PC. For us in publishing, advertising or marketing, this changes everything. Everything we know about how to build relationships and engagement now needs to be redesigned for the digital consumer. Add this reality to the new and innovative devices, like the Plastic Logic reader, (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozjV6LUkB30), set to hit the markets over the next year, and we really will have an entirely new canvas to work from.
Even though digital publishing has been around for about 10 years, its potential is still unfolding. If you are not leveraging digital publishing as part of your publishing mix, you should be. Or, you will find yourself left behind in the near future as consumers catch on to this hot trend. If you are already leveraging a digital but not seeing the returns or impact you expect, seek guidance and advice. There is untapped potential you can be capitalizing on.
Jeanniey Mullen is the executive director and a founder of the Email Experience Council and EVP, CMO for Zinio. Reach her at [email protected].