Friday, January 25, 2013

Transitioning From Print To Digital

The print world, newspaper and magazine subscriptions specifically, is dealing with a massive change in the media landscape.  Where once they enjoyed delivering print subscriptions via the mail and door to door service, they are facing a consumer that is shifting more and more from hard copy to digital.  The direction and pace are clear, just cite the rise in tablets.  But this paid business model is also facing the wrath of competition offering free access to print content.  Where once you had to buy a subscription to The National Enquirer or Us Weekly, today you can read similar coverage on TMZ on a website or app.  As "mom" would say, why buy the  cow when the milk is free.

And that is the struggle that print media faces as they manage this transition from print to digital subscriptions and online advertising.  The costs of printing and delivery may decrease, but can the revenue continue to grow?  As there are many ways to "skin a cat", publishers have too.  "Publishing companies like Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast and Time Inc are pursuing diverse strategies to drive up digital sales, and have all seen online readership numbers rise as a result."

People will pay for content if they perceive value.  Publishers can do that with a walled garden approach as well as marketing the value of those dispensing the information.  Digital also can be valuable because of the  time sensitivity it allows; printed news is old the moment it is on the paper while digital news can constantly be updated to reflect the most current information.  Digital also enables multimedia, video and audio, to augment the written word.  As long as the consumer believes their is value, they will pay for it.

The move from print to digital will not happen overnight; but it is moving down that path at the moment.  And at some point soon, publishers will meet and pass through that tipping point where there won't be a need to print a publication at all.

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