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Multiplatform Publishing Options Expand Through Partnerships, Products and Services

Medium extending availability for all publishers; USA Today utilizes apps as a revenue stream; Digital-oriented sales organizations being used by more multiplatform publishers

Multiplatform publishing options continue to grow for digital publishers. Today we’re looking new strategies being used by publishers for tapping into new revenue streams and audiences.

Our first story looks at the publishing platform Medium and how it is expanding its offerings to a wide range of publishers. MediaPost reports, “After ditching advertising, it later introduced its “Partner Program,” offering premium, all-access subscriptions to content protected by an “open paywall,” aggregating publishers and paying subscribers on a single platform.”

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“Publishers are rewarded financially, based on reader engagement and the number of “claps” their content gets from members. Publishers can make content free or put it behind the paywall as they see fit; nonmembers can still access up to three articles for free.”

The article continues by discussing Medium’s new approach for working with a larger group of publishers. “Now Medium is planning to open the Partner Program to publishers of all sizes, the platform announced in a blog post this week. In a separate post on Medium, Williams explained, “starting today, anyone can enroll in our Partner Program and earn money, based on the depth and value they provide to members, not the fleeting attention they deliver to advertisers.”

Our next story focuses on a new revenue opportunity for USA Today’s multiplatform endeavors as it presents an ad-free app. Digiday reports, “USA Today has quietly launched an ad-free version for users of its mobile apps who don’t want to see ads. The offering costs $2.99 a month after a free two-week trial and is part of a larger effort to grow consumer revenue at USA Today and Gannett’s other 109 local newspapers to offset declining print ad revenue.”

The article continues with further exploration of USA Today’s work at monetizing its audience. “The ad-free option is just one of a variety of things USA Today is exploring to grow consumer revenue. USA Today introduced registration on its website, where people who enter their email will get early notice of news and special reports. Down the road, the newspaper may add other benefits like exclusive content or early access to content. USA Today hasn’t paywalled its site, but it has served messages asking people to turn off their ad blockers. In its local markets, USA Today Network already operates paywalls on its sites and has done more consumer-paid events and started to test membership programs.”

Our final story examines the shift for some major multiplatform publishers to digital-oriented sales organizations. Digiday reports, “Earlier this year, Condé Nast became the latest legacy publishing company to get rid of the publisher title and replace it with a group sales model. It follows moves by other multi-title publishers to catch up to the way ads are sold by native digital media companies, where sales tend to be centralized.”

The article continues with examples of publishers going this route. “During 2016, Time Inc. eliminated the publisher title at each of its 22 magazines and moved to selling around 11 ad categories, including pharma, food and automotive. Salespeople at the brand level and digital get involved depending on the client’s goals.”

“Another legacy publisher, Bonnier Corp., which publishes 24 enthusiast titles including Boating, Cycle World and Saveur, kept its group publishers because most of the revenue comes from endemic advertising, and its sales reps have deep knowledge of those categories.”

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