The Information’s Digital Publishing Strategy Mimics the Old Days

Digital Publishing News for December 5, 2013

Digiday is reporting that The Information, a new tech news site from Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin is forgoing on site advertisements to focus its revenue strategy solely on subscriptions. John McDermott writes, “At $39 per month or $399 per year, The Information will have to entice readers to buy its information, a tough sell considering the abundance of free tech news sites. Lessin believes The Information’s differentiator is implied in its name; by providing exclusive reporting and analysis, tech professionals will pony up. The bet is similar to the one Lessin saw pay off at her former employer, which has built a sizable subscription business, thanks no doubt to many of its customers using their corporate credit cards.”

Their model mimics the old days when publishers bundled their content behind a paywall and hoped people would pay for it. I like their mission, though, which tells the story of millions of websites who push out content like machines without taking the time to really focus on the best content. It should be interesting to see how well this revenue model works. The tech publication is geared towards working professionals in the tech field and is getting a positive response so far.

Maxim Deal Set To Close

It looks like the deal is finally getting done. Maxim is finally being sold to Darden Media Group. The sale hit a snag last month as one of the financial backers of the deal backed out. Bob Guccione Jr. is being brought in to manage the new publication. Lucia Moses for Adweek writes, “The Maxim news marks Guccione’s return to publishing and is likely to draw interest in the brand. Guccione, the son of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione Sr., formerly ran Spin and Discover Media, exiting Discover in 2007. After kicking back in Tuscany for a while, he tried to get back into the business, attempting to buy Hachette Filipacchi Media’s enthusiast titles and doing some consulting.”

Guccione was approached by the Maxim team last year. It’s unclear if Guccione has stake in the company but he certainly has some rebuilding to do.

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Desktop Still More Popular Than Mobile for Web Shopping

Mobile is certainly being used for shopping, but it isn’t the preferred method, according to a recent article from eMarketer that highlights September research from ChoiceStream.

The eMarketer article states, “The survey of internet users in the US found that 87.3% liked using their computer for online shopping best, with just 7.4% choosing tablets and 5.3% choosing smartphones. And researching products on computers was done by nearly nine out of 10. Still, more than half had researched or booked at some point via mobile.”

It will be interesting to see how this data changes in the future.

The Medium Platform Gets an Update

The blog publishing platform Medium has made some changes. Jordan Crook writes, “the tool gets a bit of a revamp, with more placement and layout options for photos, giving the writer extra control over the layout of the story.”

Additional updates to fonts and the analytics for collections have also been made.

Although changes have been made, Evan Williams, the creator of Medium, says that the platform is still streamlined and easy to use.

Facebook is Telling Marketing to Buy Ads

A recent Ad Age article reports on a Facebook sales deck that informs marketers that organic reach on the social network will gradually decline, and that buying ads is a way to still get the message out accordingly. Cotton Delo writes, “In the document, titled “Generating business results on Facebook,” the paragraph in which the impending drop-off in organic reach is revealed concludes with an ad pitch; marketers are told they should consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery of your message in news feed.”

Will brands pay for advertising on Facebook if their organic traffic through the social network dips? Time will tell.

Bonnier Buys Sport Diver UK

FOLIO is reporting that the Bonnier Corp. has acquired Sport Diver UK. Arti Patel writes, “Bonnier CEO Dave Freygang would not divulge the terms of the deal, but did say the move to purchase the title was very strategic in the company’s efforts to grow their U.S. brand’s global presence. Sport Diver UK grows Bonnier’s portfolio of dive market titles including Scuba Diving, The Undersea Journal, produced in partnership with The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), and the digital-only Sport Diver Asia Pacific launched last year.”

Bonnier intends to grow the brand beyond the UK into Germany, Spain and France.

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