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How does a publisher move from brand engagement to an enterprise transactional model?
It all revolves around thinking like a retailer and utilising your brands to capitalise on new revenue streams.
Immediate Media is a combined publishing house formed with BBC Magazines, Magicalia and Origin, with around 70 brands.
The group has been investing in technology for a while, enabling digital elements to be added to its subscriptions, as well as integrating advertising and product sales.
The magazines are chiefly publishing special interest content, from sports to weddings etc. With 80% of Immediate’s revenue coming from selling content, it’s clear that there’s a balance to be found between product development and monetisation.
Let’s take a look in more detail…
UX teams must be pragmatic and favour operational revenue
Immediate’s digital magazine content comes in three formats - PDF, enhanced PDF and fully interactive magazine.
Although it’s easy to scoff at a PDF magazine, readers want the content online and this quick solution adds to the value of a subscription immediately. Some PDF solutions completely suit a particular type of content and audience.
One example is the Gardener’s World iPad app which has used embedded audio to allow readers to play birdsong from within a feature about garden birds.
Content discovery and subscriptions are as important as improving the product
Following on from the last point, iteration is as much about enabling readers to find existing content and about selling current products to customers as it is about improving the content per se.
That blend of optimisation and improvement is another part of the pragmatism needed from both editorial and product teams.
Well-loved brands can give new products a lead in empty markets
Another great case study. In the pursuit of new revenue streams, the You and Your Wedding brand started a venue search engine, a transactional lead based business doing something that previously didn’t really exist.
The brand is strong enough to ensure that over time a good share of the venue hunting audience may use the product, and significant referral fees can be gained in what is a highly valuable market.
Think like a retailer
This is probably the chief point to be made. Immediate Media has a CRM database with 4m records, and more than 1m subscriptions.
Using this data smartly to increase transactions is the key point.
A case in point is the Radio Times’ rapidly expanding travel business. In the 15 months since launch it made £5m in revenue, £1m in January 2014 alone.
Travel partners were chosen based on the audience demographic and the ability to achieve complex integration comfortably. These partners include Holiday Extras, Riviera Travel and Voyages of Discovery.
As this model is working well, the next step could see it being rolled out for a product such as insurance.
Find the balance between ‘editorially led’ and ‘product driven’
Part of thinking like a retailer is having the right organisational structure and mix of staff. This chart shows what the approach is at Immediate Media.
Build an adaptive enterprise through long-term investments in owned technology
Immediate is creating publishing tools which its brands can use easily. There’s no doubt that if you have a large editorial team, especially across brands, investing in creating an easy to use platform is wise.
Creating dynamic content can be as easy as clicking and dragging elements within the CMS.
Are you a publisher exploring new revenue streams? Leave a comment below.