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Online Publishing Trends: Digital Diversity, Adaptation Challenges, and Beyond Native

Axel Springer, the Telegraph, City AM, and more making headlines with the latest online publishing trends

Is there anything more mercurial than online publishing trends? Not many industries have a more evolving mindset, technologies, or revenue models.

On some days, this is a great thing, and on others, it can make your head spin. But stay calm! There’s a core strategy that will steer you through the storm.

You can figure it out for yourself, or you can check out our Mequoda System to get a feel for multiplatform publishing strategy to attract, engage, and convert consumers. Because, in the end, the bottom line is the bottom line, and you have to stick with the principles while experimenting with what works for you to generate real revenue.

Recent stories from Digiday touch on this idea, and will give you an idea of what’s going on in the business, while also giving you comfort to know you’re not the only one trying to keep up with online publishing trends. Let’s take a look!

Online Publishing Trends: Axel Springer Succeeding With Digital Creativity

For many transitioning from print to digital, or bolstering digital efforts, Axel Springer is the envy. So, how are they doing it? Digiday has the story, which focuses on the company’s efforts to diversify its digital offerings and approaches.

“The U.S. is an obvious attractive market for Axel Springer to target: Six of the 10 top global startup hubs are based in the U.S. The opportunity for scale is far greater than Germany, and in the case of technology and advertising, it’s more advanced. Springer dipped its toe in the waters with a minority stake in Airbnb, after Döpfner met founder Brian Chesky and was “thrilled” with the idea of the sharing economy, sparking a stronger appetite for more minority investments,” Lucinda Southern writes.

“Springer’s current U.S. portfolio has a strong focus toward digital-content businesses. It owns Business Insider and has shares in NowThis, Mic, Ozy and virtual reality business Jaunt. Most of these present opportunities for content sharing. NowThis, for instance, shares co-branded content with Springer on footage about the refugee crisis. Business Insider is Springer’s only majority share after the publisher increased its stake from 9 percent to 97 percent from January to September 2015 (although its global majority stake portfolio is 200). Again, there is a content collaboration, Business Insider features financial information from Axel Springer owned Finanzen.net. Business Insider has also expanded to Germany and will launch in Poland in the second quarter.”

The Telegraph Expands Digital Operations With Eye on 100 Million Uniques

The Telegraph is making its play, and they’re taking an all-guns-blazing, hybrid approach to gain as many uniques as possible, according to Digiday.

“The Telegraph is on Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP. Social referral traffic has increased 17 percent since last February, with 3.1 million of its desktop visits that month coming from social media sites, according to SimilarWeb data. … It’s not on Snapchat, but it’s been testing WhatsApp for sports content for the last few months and has attracted a couple of thousand WhatsApp followers by posting full-time football scores and links through to match reports of all major sporting events,” Jessica Davies writes.

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“The publisher operates a hybrid subscriptions and advertising model, though, so it, therefore, must balance driving scale with providing the kind of content people are willing to pay for. … The Telegraph doesn’t publicly disclose how many subscribers it has, but it has a metered paywall, so any reader can access eight articles a day for free before hitting the paywall. For £10 ($14.30) a week or £100 ($143) a year, readers can access the entire Telegraph website, as well as smartphone apps; £15 ($21.45) a week (or £150 / $215 annually) buys you that plus tablet app access. … The Telegraph’s business model is praised by some analysts. Enders media analyst Thomas Caldecott said the publisher’s hybrid business model of metered paywall and advertising is among the most promising in the market.”

Which Online Publishing Trends Are Causing Executives Consternation?

In a word, social platforms. In a another word, profitability. In yet another word, viewability, Digiday reports.

“We’re working with video networks trying to figure out how to deliver on this unreal expectation. It doesn’t align with MRC standards. Because of the depth and breadth of who they are, they’re bullying publishers for lower rates and comparing us to shitty networks that have lower value and no premium inventory, all because they’re supposedly ‘fulfilling viewability,” one anonymous publisher told Digiday.

Said another:

“I don’t see how networks are offering 100 percent viewability at the rates they’re asking, which is in the $30-40 range, and delivering. And they’re asking the same thing from premium publishers. We’re not dropping our pants and doing it, but when you negotiate at a rate that’s higher than the networks, we still have issues fulfilling that.”

Niche Publisher Allowing Digital Advertisers to Post Content Directly

Guess we shouldn’t be surprised that it has come to this, but one London publisher is taking native ads to a whole new level by allowing advertisers access to its CMS for posting directly to the publication, Digiday reports.

“London business-focused newspaper City AM is launching a new native product, called City Talk, that’s designed to let advertisers publish content directly to the site, using the same content management system and tools that its own editorial staff and contributors use. Starting next month advertisers will have their own log-ins for the site a la Forbes and soon Condé Nast,” writes Davies.

“City AM’s newly appointed chief operating officer Charles Yardley is leading the changes; until very recently he was managing director of EMEA for Forbes. The move will open up an ‘entirely new tenancy revenue-based route’ for the publisher, according to Yardley. That means advertisers wanting this option will pay a fixed monthly rate, and will need to commit for a minimum of six months upfront.”

Which online publishing trends are you tracking these days? Tell us all about it in the comments!

To read more about online publishing trends and other news, visit Digiday.

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