On the heels of Zinio’s Z-pass announcement (think Netflix for digital magazines, which we’ve heard before) is this article by Hamish McKenzie which covers little new ground in saying that for digital magazines to really succeed, they’re going to have to stop looking like print magazines.
While McKenzie is right, to a point, it’s fairly absurd that not a single example of what the future looks like has an advertisement in it that’s anything but an IAB banner. If nothing else, this proves that while McKenzie may understand technology, he doesn’t really understand how the publishing industry operates.
Moreover, if you’re not going to figure out advertising – and again, the samples McKenzie links to clearly haven’t – then your entire business model is predicated on digital content sales, which at this point is still very much a precarious business.
Nxtbook’s Ubiquity product aims to do both – deliver a better reading experience for consumers while creating unique advertising platforms for advertisers. In the end, both ends of the problem need to be fixed to push the industry into its next great phase of advancement and Ubiquity is the only platform we’ve seen that does that. Don’t believe us? Check out this sample here and notice how it works for readers and advertisers alike.
The numbers are in, and BPA reports an increase in digital circulation of 2.8%. A report released by BtoBonline summarized the BPA’s findings:
"About a third (33.8%) of the b-to-b and consumer publications audited by BPA Worldwide reported digital circulation for the second half of last year, the organization said. A total of 520 print titles reported digital circulation for the six-month period ended Dec. 31, a 2.8% increase over the year-earlier period. BPA Worldwide said digital circulation now accounts for about 22% of its audited qualified circulation."
More businesses are embracing digital publications as an effective form for reaching their readers, and I expect this number to continue to rise throughout the year.
We’ve found that lots of people need a great looking website that plays great on mobile and tablet devices. That said, a lot of these same people have relatively small needs. Maybe you’re a consultant or a single practice attorney… in that case, you need to look good, but you don’t want to spend a ton.
Did you know that we’ve recently launched Rent-to-Own websites? For as little as $999 down, you can have your site launched in under a week. Click here to read the details, or enjoy the video for more info.
Like most of you, we pay attention to how people find us. I’m talking about the Nxtbook corporate site, as well as our (and your) digital editions. On our corporate site, in particular, we’ve noticed a drop off of search engine traffic, which would be disturbing if not for the fact that overall site visits continue to rise.
The culprit, according to this article, may be new browsers that block some of that vital search referral data, and instead lump those visitors into that big nebulous bucket we all have called "direct traffic."
On one hand, this isn’t a problem. After all, you’re still getting the visitor. But on the other hand, those of us who like to understand why that visitor came so they can replicate the success… well, things have gotten a bit harder for us.
From Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heims:
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," Heins told Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller and Nadja Brandt. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
And we wonder why Blackberry is an also-ran?
Then again, if the only tablet I’d ever owned was a Blackberry Playbook, maybe I’d feel the same way.
Does the line, "In content marketing, every brand is a publisher," still bother you? You live and breathe content calendars, face daily deadlines, and slave over delivering quality publications to your audience; it makes sense you’d get upset if just anyone feels they can be a publisher. But consider the inverse, that publishers are brands with great content marketing. What could you be doing with that perspective to increase your brand’s audience?
The publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine embraced this mentality wholeheartedly and used custom content to boost their traffic. As the magazine pushed readers to an ecommerce site to purchase wine-related items, the additional use of content as a driving force resulted in winning increased organic traffic, overall traffic, and monthly email opt-ins.
An article by marketingsherpa covers the story well, focusing on 7 key tactics:
- Connect content and e-commerce
- Become a leading resource
- Aim for simple and effective
- Take down the pay wall
- Separate the email lists
- Repurpose content for SEO
- Find more ways to repurpose
By launching custom content and heavy audience-engagement pieces in the digital realm, Wine Enthusiast Magazine has watched their numbers grow. Just when you think you’ve had enough put on your content calendar, don’t forget to supplement it with this kind of additional content to boost your readership. If you lack the resources to create more content, and you’ve repeated tactics 6 and 7 to the point where nothing seems original anymore, try partnering with a content company that can help generate more. As this publisher proves, the rewards are worth the efforts.
Ron Matejko is a publisher of some great digital-only magazines. He also writes periodically for Publishing Executive. Yesterday, he posted his opinion of how major news outlets "misused" Twitter during the Boston Marathon tragedy. While most of his objections were spot on, in my opinion, he whiffed on this one:
"By far, the most frustrating and head-scratching decision was announced by the New York Times, which took down its paywall during the height of the news cycle. What is the sense of having a paywall if it is going to be removed at a time when its content is most valuable. Are we supposed to believe this is a corporation with a conscience? The Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal dropped their paywalls as well."
Whether or not the Times has a "conscience" or not is debatable, though as a reader I tend to think there’s more than a little virtue in what they try to do. But more important, I think, is that the Times correctly assessed the situation and responded.
Truth is, the NY Times is rarely – if ever – a contender for "breaking news." That’s what TV is for. Instead, they are purveyors of thoughtful detailed news, and their paywall exists to cater to customers seeking quality, not immediacy.
The events at the Boston Marathon drove readers to seek breaking news, which – fortunately or not – tend to be a commodity product. The Times responded by allowing readers the ability to consume that commodity before they had the opportunity to provide the insight readers will desire in time.
What readers wanted Monday afternoon were the facts and Times removal of their paywall allowed them to provide them without frustration to readers, desperate for answers.
So ABM is merging with SIIA. If you didn’t know (and don’t feel bad, because I didn’t), SIIA stands for the Software & Information Industry Association.
Appararently, I’m not alone in this wonderment. The article referenced above says that less than 10% of ABM’s membership is also in the SIIA. It’s not that I have anything against SIIA; I’m just saying I never heard of them until today so a merger with a major association directly in our industry is somewhat stunning. And judging by the news that’s displayed on their homepage, I’m not so certain that will change. I’m sure the articles are fine – they’re just not in the wheelhouse of what we’re into.
Then again, one could say the same for ABM in recent years, so perhaps this match make more sense than it would seem.
GRAND Magazine, a favorite among the Creative Services team here at Nxtbook, is receiving new honors for their March/April issue from Al Gore’s team at Climate Reality. The magazine will be distributed to Climate Reality’s two million members this month.
In addition, The Children’s Movement of Florida, a group which was featured within the magazine, will deliver this issue to their large membership.
We are ecstatic for GRAND Magazine for all of their hard work in creating great content in this family resource targeted for grandparents. GRAND has been working with our Creative Services team to produce a digital-only magazine designed for interactive screen-reading. Our designers work closely with the GRAND team to create animations, layouts and custom navigation to make this monthly magazine a valued resource for their audience. Flip through the pages to see some of the great animations the team added to the pages. Or, click here to read the feature article on Al Gore, or here for the Children’s Movement of Florida article.
When we released Nxtbook Ubiquity, one of the most groundbreaking features was our new Web-in-Page, which places fully functional websites inside digital editions. This means advertisers don’t have to rely on people clicking on their ads. Why is this important? Because people don’t click on ads. In fact, you’re 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad. Click here for other shocking stats re: our most worthless digital commodity.