2. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
Magazines and curation: A reality Sponsor content: Why should you
check consider a multi-channel content
Cross-platform content: The new 43
imperative Sponsor case study: The Christian
5 things the Financial Times 45
does right Sponsor success story: Elle
4 28 46
5 innovative strategies to build Sponsor success story: Car and
Seven pillars of content digital revenue Driver
management system (CMS) ROI
9 33 47
How GEO scales international Sponsor success story: Clear
Publishing staffs adjust to address content to local markets Channel Radio
Editors as the new audience About the sponsor
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3. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
Reach a broader audience through new channels
As a Publisher, launching a media portal or transforming an existing one into a profitable
business can be challenging, especially with all the various channels to consider. From print,
Web, mobile and now the tablet, a multi-channel strategy is a key competitive advantage
for any Publisher. But there is not always a clear solution.
eZ Systems has been a trusted platform for Publishers for over a decade. eZ delivers
unsurpassed multichannel capabilities that enable Publishers to reach out and engage your
audience, accelerating your time-to-market while reducing your implementation costs.
eZ is pleased to sponsor this Publisher’s Playbook to spark new ideas that support the
power of multi-channel publishing.
CEO, eZ Systems
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4. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SEVEN PILLARS OF CONTENT
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) ROI
BY PRESCOTT SHIBLES Whether you have a $100,000 online business and are considering a $30,000 investment
in a new website or a $10 million business looking into a $1.5 million redesign project,
the discussion often starts with a question about the capabilities of the current content
management system (CMS). Building a case for a new CMS can be daunting, since you are
essentially trying to prove that an investment that could equal a year’s emedia profits will
lead to explosive growth down the road.
The good news is that the cost of these systems has dropped dramatically, and the
technology advances made in recent years can lead to tremendous business improvement.
As in all technology projects, you must look for cost efficiencies and revenue opportunities
to justify the costs. We’ve developed a template of a CMS request for investment
spreadsheet that lays out investment expenses and the return on investment.
Before diving into each of the business drivers that create ROI, let’s review some options
on how to use these technologies to create efficiencies. There are two ways to calculate
the return on investment with regards to staff efficiencies. The first is to look at potential
cuts that can be made based on the improved capabilities of the system. The second is to
look at opportunity costs, i.e., all of the products that could be launched and generating
revenue with the time the staff currently spends on production work. While staff cuts
will gain you more buy-in from executives because of the simplicity (and the short-term
savings), opportunity cost is a more flexible and reliable way of actually reaching your ROI
objectives. Here are some of the opportunity costs that you can build a case around:
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5. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SEVEN PILLARS OF CONTENT 1. Editorial efficiencies
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) ROI cont’d
Legacy CMS systems often require editors to resize and upload multiple versions of the
same image, one for the thumbnail on the featured article area of homepage, a smaller
thumbnail for headlines, and a final size for placement in an article. This doesn’t seem like
a lot of work, but I know editors that spend over 10 hours a week on image resizing. A
CMS with an automated image-manipulation system can free up those hours and reallocate
... use time sheets those resources to new product development.
to identify the time
Additional time savings can be achieved by leveraging easy-to-use, what-you-see-is-what-
developers spend on you-get (WYSIWYG) interface instead of formatting manually with HTML. This allows
editors to edit and post content in an environment that feels like a word processor: placing
projects that could be images, formatting text, and creating sidebars and other related assets.
capitalized (new product
2. Technology staff efficiencies
Older platforms often require greater technical skills to operate, put less control in the
time spent on bug fixes hands of business users, and become less stable as work-arounds and developer hacks pile
and maintenance. up. Moving to a new platform can reduce the time your development team spends on fire
drills and bug fixes, time better spent on new product development and deployment.
To quantify these efficiencies, use time sheets to identify the time developers spend on
projects that could be capitalized (new product development) versus time spent on bug
sponsored by fixes and maintenance. If the ratio of development hours vs. maintenance hours is below
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6. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SEVEN PILLARS OF CONTENT 50/50, moving to a new platform could save considerable maintenance man-hours.
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) ROI cont’d Identifying the number of developer maintenance hours saved can help you create a
model for the number of new products you can launch with the help of a new CMS.
3. New product launches
The lifeblood of a successful digital publisher is the ability to bring new products to
market quickly. Once you’ve identified the time savings of your editorial and technology
staff, you can make a case for reallocating those resources to new product initiatives.
To make your case stronger, create a list of ideas, their revenue potential, their complexity,
and the estimated costs. Assume that not all of the ideas will pay out as expected;
instead, apply a “confidence” percentage of this revenue potential to your ROI model.
4. Increased traffic
Content management systems can help increase site traffic in a number of ways. Just
about every CMS product has been tweaked and tuned for search engine optimization.
Semantic technologies and text mining can improve tagging and keyword optimization.
Sites such as cyberpresse.ca, monvolant.ca, and technaute.com have seen traffic increase
by 30% within a year of implementing a new CMS. Improved site search and related
content capabilities can help keep users on your site longer and make them more
engaged. This additional traffic can be monetized through Google AdSense, endemic
advertising, or promotion of paid content offerings.
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7. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SEVEN PILLARS OF CONTENT 5. Better ad targeting
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) ROI cont’d
Imagine automatically retagging thousands of articles from your archives and being
able to charge five times as much for the ad impressions served on those pages. This is
now possible due to some of the technology advances in the past two years. In fact, Tim
Armstrong, CEO of AOL, recently said that content management systems are becoming the
new ad systems. Armstrong also told TechCrunch that AOL was making an investment in a
secret CMS project to help the company better serve relevant ads and content to readers.
... content management
systems are becoming 6. Personalization
the new ad systems. Sites like Supply Chain Daily and Daily Candy are using personalization to drive audience
engagement and revenues by providing readers with a tailored and unique offering based
on their content preferences. The London Telegraph has rolled out a technology where
circulation, classifieds and editorial databases are combined to create a single view of
a user’s preferences. Ed Hubbard, director of product marketing at DTI, the Telegraph’s
technology provider, said of the potential impact of personalization and robust vertical
behavioral data:, “The more intelligence a company has on their specific audience, the
more they’ll be able to do new things. It won’t just be CPM.”
7. International efforts
Automated translation tables, foreign character support (search and display), and
sponsored by dynamic workflows for translations are just a few of the technologies that can help drive
international traffic and revenues while reducing production and deployment costs.
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8. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SEVEN PILLARS OF CONTENT Putting it all together
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) ROI cont’d
Once you’ve identified your efficiencies, costs savings, and potential revenue streams, you
can create a proposal that confidently demonstrates ROI. The proposal should provide
enough detail – in the form of metrics such as total investment request, total savings, and
new revenue projects – to make a solid case without overwhelming the business decision-
makers with too much data.
Free Download: In most cases, CMS projects need a payback of no more than 18 months in order to get
CMS request for investment template approved. Because technology advances so quickly, you don’t want to be committed to a
platform for too long a time. An 18-month payback gives you enough flexibility to switch
systems every three years or so in order to keep pace with new technology. That’s not
the preferred route, of course: when evaluating CMS systems, look for a platform that is
flexible enough to evolve with your changing needs.
Getting to payback within 18 months might seem difficult at first. These systems can take
up to a year just to implement fully, depending on the number of Web sites. So, you need to
phase in the cost savings and benefits. You’ll also want an annualized version of those cost
savings and revenues to demonstrate the impact of the project running at 100% for a full year.
Finally, you’re going to want to detail how resources will be reallocated in order to meet
the revenue expectations that you are laying out. The spreadsheet template that eMedia
Vitals has provided gives CEOs the right amount of broad information and detail they’ll
sponsored by need to approve an investment. The hard work is in the detail behind this document, but it
provides a good structure and approach for ensuring that your CMS project has maximum
impact and as little risk as possible.
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9. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
PUBLISHING STAFFS ADJUST TO
ADDRESS MOBILE WORKFLOW
BY ELLIE BEHLING In many ways, it seems like the iPad was plopped down on the desks of editors and
production staff with a note that said, “Congratulations! Please factor this into what you’re
While support for mobile devices has added to the production plate, many publishers
have found it difficult to justify budgeting for dedicated mobile staff when the medium
remains such a small percentage of revenue. But we’re beginning to signs of more mobile-
related hiring as publishers realize that mobile is becoming a more important channel for
On a day-to-day basis, mobile workflow varies widely depending on the type of publication
(newspaper vs. magazine) and frequency (daily vs. weekly vs. monthly). It also matters
whether the publisher develops the app internally or externally and whether the app
includes unique or repurposed content.
For many publishers, editorial is one area that requires significant workflow modifications
to support mobile, according to Bill Tallent, CEO of Mercury Intermedia, which creates iPad
apps for newspapers such as USA Today. Mercury’s larger clients have hired full-time mobile
staffs, Tallent said at a recent conference hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute. (USA
Today reorganized last year, putting a bigger emphasis on mobile.)
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10. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
PUBLISHING STAFFS ADJUST TO Tallent advised publishers not to skimp on editorial attention in mobile. “It’s tough to do
ADDRESS MOBILE WORKFLOW cont’d this because I know that there are staff cuts constantly in the editorial department, but
when you put out an app that has typos and mistakes in the copy, customers will ding you,”
he said. “We’ve seen quite a few apps out there where the quality of the presentation, the
quality of the copy in an application doesn’t even approximate what it is in the paper itself.”
A new kind of editor for mobile
A perusal of job boards surfaced a hodgepodge of media jobs focused on mobile. Like
the Web, content and production jobs blur in the mobile space. In the last couple of
months, The New York Post advertised for a “part-time iPad news editor” and Consumer
Reports was looking to hire someone in “iPad production.” The Washington Post recently
advertised for a “mobile engagement producer.” This hire will manage content on the
mobile site and apps, Mobile Editor Anjuman Ali told Poynter.
Mobile content positions that blur editorial and digital production roles is a natural
evolution, said Kate Byrne, vice president of the technology group at Future US, Inc. The
publisher’s free Mac|Life app, launched this summer, has seen about 460,000 downloads,
and the recently launched paid version has received about 12,000 downloads.
While developing for mobile, Byrne quickly spotted a gap between editorial and
development workflow that needed to be filled. She said publishers increasingly require
editorial staffers to be more nimble with activities like coding in addition to content — a
request she likened to asking those “who are poets by nature to become quants.”
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11. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
PUBLISHING STAFFS ADJUST TO Byrne’s solution, which is already budgeted into the publisher’s 2011 headcount, is to
ADDRESS MOBILE WORKFLOW cont’d create the role of a digital producer who resides in editorial but acts as a liaison between
development and editorial. Keeping the job editorially focused is important because the
technical side lacks an overarching understanding of all the moving parts, such as how
editorial works with the business side, she noted.
“Eventually, I think this is what the next-generation editor-in-chief will be, though we’re
not there yet,” she said.
“Like anything else,
if it starts to make Byrne envisions the digital producer being able to determine what content appears where,
depending on the screen size or distribution channel. It could mean bringing more people
money, I can hire with broadcast backgrounds into the print world, particularly because video has become a
core piece of digital and mobile, she said.
whomever I want...”
Some publishers acknowledge that they don’t know exactly how mobile workflow will
work until they start trying it out. The American Lawyer publisher ALM, which plans to
launch several apps this year, is taking a wait-and-see approach to determine any workflow
or staffing changes.
Staffing needs could depend, for example, on the type of content in the mobile app.
Currently ALM is trying not to beef up staff, using outside developers and beginning
with repurposed content, Jill Windwer, vice president of digital products and Law.com for
ALM, explained in a recent interview. Creating unique content for the app would require
additional staff, she said.
“Like anything else, if it starts to make money, I can hire whomever I want,” she added.
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12. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
PUBLISHING STAFFS ADJUST TO Layered on top
ADDRESS MOBILE WORKFLOW cont’d
Across much of the magazine world, creating digital editions for mobile devices has been
layered on top of the regular production workflow.
For instance, with Condé Nast’s highly publicized Wired app, editors and designers on the
print side worked side by side to determine additional content to enhance storytelling for
“It’s a concurrent workflow,” Scott Dadich, executive director of digital magazine
development at Condé Nast, said at the American Magazine Conference last fall. At the
time, Wired had not assigned additional full-time staff to app production but had hired
freelancers for additional projects, such as video work, as needed, he said.
On the other hand, Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated decided to hire extra staff to keep up with
the weekly pace of putting out an iPad app on top of a magazine.
“We’ve had to add two people just from the sheer workload,” Chris Hercik, creative
director of Sports Illustrated Group, said at AMC. Like Wired, the staffs seamlessly move
from print and mobile.
Moving mobile in-house
sponsored by These skeleton mobile staffs may begin to grow as mobile becomes more integrated into
the organization, particularly on the technology side. While relying on external technology
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13. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
PUBLISHING STAFFS ADJUST TO vendors can lessen the load, many publishers are still finding that developing an app can be
ADDRESS MOBILE WORKFLOW cont’d labor-intensive for in-house staff.
Cox Media Group’s app for the Dayton Daily News was developed by Mercury, but still
required a concentrated amount of internal staff before launch. Speaking at the Reynolds
Journalism Institute conference, Ray Marcano, director of digital strategy for Cox Media
Group Ohio, said newspapers with a circulation of 150,000 to 200,000 should plan on
having about a dozen people working on an app – from marketing to circulation.
Smaller publishers are finding ways to do it for less. Greenspun Media Group launched a
location-based app for Las Vegas Weekly without relying on external vendors. Rob Curley,
the publisher’s senior editor of digital, said the editorial and technology staff work closely
to maintain the app and website.
Eventually more publishers may take their app development in-house. Despite working
for a firm that develops apps for publishers, Mercury’s Tallent believes publishers should
eventually plan on developing mobile apps internally, just as they do for their websites.
Hiring app developers, however, isn’t cheap. “It’s going to take at least three years for
supply and demand to equalize in the labor market for app developers,” he said.
So publishers face a bit of a Catch-22: They need to create successful apps with limited
resources in order to have revenue to invest back into them. Executives admit they’re going
through a learning process. Speaking at the Business Insider conference recently, Kevin
Krim, global head of web properties at Bloomberg, acknowledged that iPad development
is difficult to integrate into an organization: “Anyone who tells you it’s been easy has been
lying to you.”
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14. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
MAGAZINES AND CURATION:
A REALITY CHECK
BY ELLIE BEHLING It’s easy to forget that just because we talk about a concept a lot in the media industry
– e.g., “curation” – doesn’t mean traditional publishers are doing it. That came to my
attention at a conference for consumer magazines last week when Matt Robson, SEO
specialist at Hearst Magazines, noted that print-based publishers still aren’t completely on
board with linking to content from other sources.
While many consumer media companies are supplementing original content with curation,
it’s not the focus of their strategy. But it’s time for a reality check: Publishers could be hurt
as curation grows in importance.
Here are three points about content curation that Robson brought to my attention,
speaking at the MPA Digital:Technology conference in New York. Robson joined Hearst as
part of its acquisition of Hachette Filipacchi Media.
Opportunity for aggregation in new verticals
Media outlets covering the media and technology space (like this one) are generally more
open to curation. We might forget how new it is to publishers in other niches. magazines
Publishers in verticals like politics and media/tech are leveraging curation, even focusing
their entire strategy around it (e.g., Mediagazer). But there aren’t as many aggregators for
verticals like finance or entertainment, Robson noted.
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15. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
MAGAZINES AND CURATION: Resistance to linking out
A REALITY CHECK cont’d
Even in 2011, media companies are not entirely comfortable linking out to other sites,
although we know doing so can help get link juice to improve SEO.
Digital media companies are comfortable with linking, but Robson said there’s still
resistance from traditional media companies. GigaOm’s Matthew Ingram did a nice piece
recently about why it’s still so hard to get some media outlets to link.
The need to be a better content hub
are focusing too much
on original content Publishers would be better off if they did link out more often, becoming more of a service-
oriented venue for the topics they cover, Robson said. “Going into a service model of the
rather than becoming Web is potentially disruptive to current traditional publishers,” Robson said. But it’s also an
opportunity for media companies to revamp their strategies.
a hub consumers
come back to. He said traditional publishers are focusing too much on original content rather than
becoming a hub consumers come back to. The reader’s mindset is: “I read your feature;
what reason do I have to return to your site tomorrow?”
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16. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
THE NEW IMPERATIVE
BY ROB O’REGAN Media companies are being asked to get more out of their content development efforts
as they extend and enhance their publications and brands across a broader array of
distribution channels. Just as the Web did not replace print, smartphones and tablets will
not replace the Web – this is not a zero-sum content game.
As distribution platforms evolve, the
landscape is changing dramatically.
Forrester forecasts that the number of
tablet users will grow from 26 million
this year to more than 82 million by
2015. A report from Pricewaterhouse
Coopers projects that digital circulation
revenues for consumer magazines will
rise to $611 million by 2015, up from $4
million in 2010.
What’s the impact on publishers? Supporting more platforms and channels means more
content to produce. Not an easily achieved mandate when declining print revenues warrant
tighter budgets and smaller editorial staffs.
What’s the answer? Publishers need to get smarter about their content development
efforts. We must continue to explore creative ways to repackage everything we produce
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17. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: across multiple platforms. When I worked at IDG, we called this approach “skinning the
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d pig.” Nothing from your reporting, research or data gathering efforts goes to waste, unless
it’s completely irrelevant to your audience. (In which case you should question why you’re
investing in it in the first place.)
Skinning the pig requires a rethinking of all aspects of your business, from journalism
principles to content creation to organizational structures.
...when none of
the constraints of
Twitter is a news platform. Think about that. Whether it’s a former White House staffer
traditional media... posting the first tweet about Osama bin Laden’s death or New York Times reporter Brian
applies, everything Stelter’s Twitter-based reporting on the Joplin tornadoes, Twitter has become a legitimate
platform for breaking news.
can be different...
This is one aspect of what The Economist’s GL Austin calls “journalistic nuclear physics”–
the concept of “blasting the atomic unit of journalism, the article, into its constituent
quarks, and reassembling them as something else.” Austin posits that when none of the
constraints of traditional media – format, deadlines, etc. – applies, everything can be
different, including how stories are packaged and distributed to an audience.
The Knight Digital Media Center offers another phrase to describe the trend toward
content disaggregation: a Lego approach to storytelling. The concept, put forth by blogger
Amy Gahran, involves creating discrete story “modules” that work in different ways across
different formats. Mobile users, for example, might want smaller chunks of content to
consume quickly on a smaller screen. On the Web, “each story module would include
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18. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: navigation and context indicating that it’s part of a bigger story or theme. This would make
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d it easy and inviting to explore the wider story,” Gahran wrote.
Social media and mobile are significant driving forces behind concepts such as the Lego
approach. Mobile in particular presents new opportunities to repackage and redeploy
content in useful and innovative ways for consumers. Publishers continue to explore ways
to expand beyond digital replicas of print magazines, as they learn more about the content
consumption habits of smartphone and tablet users.
Utility apps are one option that’s gaining momentum. These are what Hearst Magazines’
EVP John Loughlin calls “standalone consumer experiences” – apps that help a user
accomplish a task, be it shopping, cooking, traveling, working out or virtually any other
daily activity. Martha Stewart this week released a handful of purpose-built recipe apps
around cookies and smoothies and cocktails.
Special issues are another option for repackaging content for smartphone or tablet users.
Theme-based collections of content are a no-brainer for publishers with deep archives or
those that already produce buyers’ guides of products or services in their market.
PaidContent this week noted that 28 of Conde Nast’s 37 apps to date are utility or special
A third way to repackage content in an app format is through RSS feeds. Publishers such
as The Atlantic are pulling RSS feeds from their website into a packaged app that delivers
breaking news, videos, or blog content to mobile users.
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19. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: A fourth example is the “single,” which is emerging as a way to preserve the concept of
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d narrative, long-form journalism with fresh packaging. ProPublica has published a series of
articles as Kindle Singles, and the early returns are positive.
These are all examples of what some on the industry are calling “content extensions.”
In March, Hearst hired David Kang is its first creative director of content extensions. “By
reimagining the magazines as brands, the content can extend across multiple platforms to
create new print books, ebooks, digital tools, mobile apps ... that work to build and extend
Hearst’s content franchises,” Kang told Mediapost.
As content types and formats evolve, so do the workflows for creating the content. More
magazines and newspapers are adopting a Web-first approach to publishing – even
long-running print brands such as The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor and Vance
• The Atlantic attributed its first profit in decades (last year’s fourth quarter) in large part
to a 70 percent increase in digital revenues, the result of a digital-first strategy.
• The Christian Science Monitor took the “web-first” mantra to an extreme – abandoning
its daily print edition for daily news on the web. It changed the entire culture of its
newsroom with a four-pronged strategy that included increasing the frequency of Web
posts, emphasizing SEO, and monitoring Google trends for hot topics.
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20. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: • Vance, a trade publisher of agriculture titles such as Pork magazine, two years ago
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d deployed a web-first strategy that effectively reversed its editorial workflow: instead of
researching and writing a lengthy print article, then repurposing it for the Web, writers
now will post a first take of breaking news at 200 words, following with an update at 400
words, then producing a longer second-day story that is subsequently repurposed for the
As the culture changes, so must the systems needed to support it. At the crux of this
shift lies the content management system. Poynter’s Matt Thompson had a great post
this week about how content management systems are evolving. His key point: “There’s
now a genuine expectation that a CMS will play nicely with videos stored on YouTube,
or comments managed by Disqus, or live chats embedded from CoverItLive. Other
environments such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr come with their own suites of tools.
And increasingly, what we call a ‘content management system’ is actually a combo of
multiple tightly-integrated systems.”
Gehren from the Knight Digital Media Center also chimed in on the evolving CMS:
We need tools that automate cross-linking between story modules, as well as much of the
navigation and design that visually ties together collections of modules into a story. Simply
generating an index page from a tag or category is not sufficiently engaging or usable.
Such a tool would turn your collection of story modules into an obvious mosaic, not
scattered scraps or a dry list. It would present your content in a way that allows people
sponsored by entering a collection at any point, via any module (no matter how small), on any device,
to easily find and explore other parts of that collection—and to see how they’re related.
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21. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: Org structures
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d
The cross-platform imperative also requires changes to the organization structure itself.
Forbes has been remaking its newsroom to suit the vision of Chief Product Officer
Lewis D’Vorkin. At the core of this “new newsroom” is audience-centric data, which is
shared across the organization. “The data forms a powerful feedback loop that informs
departments in every corner of our company — and the new breed of entrepreneurial
journalist that is key to powering our content engine,” D’Vorkin writes.
The New Newsroom, he adds, “is about collaboration — between editorial, product, design,
production — and, yes, the advertising sales and marketing departments, too.”
One organizational concept that was unheard of just a few years ago is the inclusion of
external contributors – including the community you’re serving. Connecticut’s Register
Citizen, owned by the Journal Register Company, last year opened a community newsroom
– housed within its editorial offices – that includes workstations (and coffee) for local
bloggers and citizen journalists.
Public Radio International’s Michael Skoler, writing for Nieman Reports, says community
is “the most powerful emerging business driver in the new economy.” He adds: “News
organizations need to think of themselves first as gathering, supporting and empowering
people to be active in a community with shared values, and not primarily as creators of
news that people will consume.”
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22. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: How to succeed: 6 tips
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d
Here are six tips on how to create a successful cross-platform business:
1. Test and learn. Publishers can’t afford to pursue big, bet-the-company initiatives that
offer no clear payoff. Start small, testing different content types, revenue models and price
points (for paid content). This is not just an R&D mandate: Give all your employees the
freedom and courage to experiment.
2. Let the data guide you. Track your experiments religiously. Find the combination of
metrics that best indicate progress toward your objectives. Allocate more resources toward
the projects that are working and either kill the underperformers or, if they’re strategically
important, find ways to improve them.
3. Break down the silos. Cross-platform content requires cross-functional collaboration.
Developers need a better understanding of editorial and the audience so they can build
better products. Marketers need better insight into editorial products so they can promote
them. Editors need to understand corporate objectives and the financial feasibility of new
projects and products. This doesn’t require a dismantling of the church/state divide, but it
does require a more open approach to content development.
4. Be consistent with your brand across platforms. The structure and tone of a tweet is
much different than a long-form magazine article, but editors’ behavior on social media
must not stray too far from the overall message of your publication. For initiatives that
stray far from the core, consider launching under a different brand.
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23. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: 5. Differentiate with quality. The pendulum is swinging back from search-optimized dreck
THE NEW IMPERATIVE cont’d toward quality content. Invest accordingly in quality as you extend your content into new
channels. As Journal Register CEO John Paton recently noted, “Lousy journalism on multiple
platforms is just lousy journalism in multiple ways.”
6. Monetize everything. At the end of the day, it’s all about driving revenue. No projects
should be allowed to go forward without a clear business benefit. During the industry’s
transition from print to digital, creating a real business case for new content development
is simply a matter of survival.
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24. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 THINGS THE FINANCIAL TIMES
BY RON MWANGAGUHUNGA Many publishers are following the FT brand despite the fact that readers are cut off
after 10 articles per month. I, for one, hit my 10-article limit within the first few weeks of
any month. At the risk of stating the obvious: FT pays for itself by providing actionable
financial information with a nice mix of news, reporting, blogging and video.
Felix Salmon rightly notes on Reuters that despite all the digital kudos, all is not wine
and roses on the print side. “Daily print circulation was 485,000 at the end of 2000, and
dropped at a rate of about 5,000 a year to 440,000 at the end of 2008,” writes Salmon.
“The rate of decline has accelerated sharply since then: print circulation is now 390,000,
which means the paper has been losing around 25,000 print subscribers per year over the
past couple of years.”
That having been said, FT has 206,892 paying digital subscribers, up 71% year on year,
according to a January blog post. “For us to have over 200,000 digital subscribers, which
is where we now are, means that we are halfway to replicating the scale of our paying
print business -- and that’s a big deal,” noted Robert Grimshaw, managing director of
FT.com, in an interview with Beet.TV.
Here are five things the FT does right:
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25. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 THINGS THE FINANCIAL TIMES 1. The FT is advertiser-friendly
DOES RIGHT cont’d
Customer data truly matters. If it didn’t, there would be no friction in the relationship
between publishers and Apple. But there is because advertisers want to know more
about their audience. John Ridding, FT’s chief executive, recently said, “we’ve moved
almost from the dark ages to an age of enlightenment in terms of understanding our
readers.” To that end, the FT is great at mining and collecting consumer data.
“When a reader signs up for an online subscription, the FT can track every click,” writes
In 2010 advertising Eric Pfaner in The Times. “That makes it easier to tailor content and new services to
on FT increased their interests. When customers let their subscriptions lapse, The FT can pursue them via
e-mail and other means in an effort to get them to reconsider.”
at double digit
Advertisers have noticed: In 2010 advertising on FT increased at double digit rates from
rates from the the year previous.
2. The FT is not afraid to experiment
The FT is involving readers more and more, fostering community. Early this year, FT
launched FT Tilt, its seventh professional-niche spin-off and an innovative departure
from the conventional news story format. FT Tilt goes more deeply into emerging
markets -- a hot financial topic nowadays -- with a comments section that is “subject to
status,” allowing members who have demonstrated their professional interest in the
emerging world to publish their own stories alongside sector analysts. Interesting. That’s
just the sort of innovative thinking that all publishers should be doing.
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26. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 THINGS THE FINANCIAL TIMES The FT is also pushing social media. At social media week last month, MB Christie, the
DOES RIGHT cont’d head of product management for FT.com, said that as of December social media traffic
at the site was up 83 percent over the last year and contributed to 130 percent more site
registrations than the year before.
3. The FT is loosening up on emerging markets
The aforementioned FT Tilt is more than just a digital-editorial experiment, it is also a
naked grab for mindshare in emerging markets, an area of great potential growth for
publishers. “Western business media such as the FT has tended to cover the emerging
world with a colonial mindset, focusing on New York and London,” wrote my colleague
Ellie Behling, covering Social Media Week last month. FT editor in chief Paul Murphy said
of FT Tilt, “the organization needed to be tilted.”
Further, the FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards will have an award category in
Emerging Business. Are you maximizing youfr growth potential in emerging markets?
4. The FT gets mobile
About 45% of FT readers access content through mobile devices. The FT iPad app is also
Further, FT is well-positioned to take advantage of mobile advertising. “The big thing
for us over the past 12 months or so has been seeing the evolution of mobile as a
commercial platform, as a place to do business,” Grimshaw told Beet.TV. “We found a
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27. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 THINGS THE FINANCIAL TIMES lot more interest from advertisers so -- now we’re seeing about a third of advertisers in
DOES RIGHT cont’d the digital space asking for mobile elements when they give us advertising briefs. You go
back a year, those briefs would have been relatively rare.”
5. The FT fiercely guards its content
FT.com’s Terms and Conditions page is forbidding, perhaps excessively so. Anyone
who has ever tried to copy even the briefest excerpt of text from the FT site has been
subjected to that stern warning. Salmon calls it “user hostile.” That having been said,
overall I find that this fierce guarding of content justifies the Financial Times as a
premium-subscription based product. Publishers, of course, don’t have to go quite as far
as FT. But the idea is pretty sound.
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28. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO BUILD
BY ELLIE BEHLING Media companies are experimenting with strategies to make money beyond traditional
advertising and paid content, either to supplement existing business models or find new ones
entirely. Here are five innovative ways publishers are digging for new digital revenue streams.
1. Single-copy sales
Selling content a la carte rather than packaged into a full publication — the iTunes
model applied to journalism — is emerging as a new way to sell magazine and news
content. Nieman Journalism Lab calls the “singles model” a way to “circumvent traditional
constraints on publishing.”
ProPublica is one media company that’s experimenting with how publishers can successfully
break out of the bundle. The news organization recently published an article as a Kindle
Single, which is generally narrative writing longer than most magazine articles but shorter
than a book. The platform to sell content is another sign of the renaissance for narrative,
The first ProPublica Kindle Single (a 13,000-word expose about Pakistan) sold 1,900 sales for 99
cents a piece (the publisher keeps 70 percent) and has been a regular in the top 10 of Kindle
Singles bestsellers, according to Nieman Lab. ProPublica’s General Manager Richard Tofel said
the Single is an experiment in building new audiences. While the modest revenue won’t float
ProPublica’s business boat, it does represent a previously untapped revenue stream.
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29. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO 2. E-commerce
BUILD DIGITAL REVENUE cont’d
Selling merchandise is gaining favor among some media companies, either as a way to add
incremental revenue or as a core part of the business. In the latter category, enthusiast
publishers such as F+W and Interweave use editorial to drive product sales. F+W has
dramatically shifted its business to focus on commerce.
The Knot is another example of successfully implementing a commerce strategy. The
publisher diversified its revenue, with e-commerce making up a substantial chunk, according
to 2009 numbers. The Knot has become a full-blown retailer, fulfilling orders for wedding
supplies such as engraved invitations. Additionally, the company teams up with other
retailers for a bridal registry product, where the publisher takes a cut of all transactions.
Teaming up with other vendors is one way to dip into commerce for publishers not ready
to launch a full-blown operation themselves. TechMediaNetwork developed affiliate
relationships with vendors and receives a share when a consumer purchases a product after
reading a review. Digital coupons are another growing way for publishers to incorporate
commerce and take a cut of the sales.
But the blurring of content and commerce isn’t always smooth. A New York Times executive
said at a conference last fall that it was tricky to try to sell movie tickets in movie reviews.
Publishers are still looking for the balance of commerce in their business model, but it’s
clear incorporation of commerce will be a vital part of the business model going foward.
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30. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO 3. Marketing services
BUILD DIGITAL REVENUE cont’d
The new era of custom publishing is another example of the changing roles of media
companies, beyond being strictly editorially driven.
In the last few years, UBM TechWeb remodeled its business to make B2B marketing services
a central part of its business. While the company still offers traditional marketing services
such as advertising, it has also created ongoing relationships with customers to manage
branded websites and communities.
In some cases advertisers are beginning to request custom content that is editorially driven
– which might sound kind of contradictory. Here’s the idea: A single advertiser will back
content about a specific topic for a specific audience but still want content maintaining
editorial independence and therefore consumer trust. Studio One Networks, a content
syndication company, uses this model by producing editorially independent content in a
specific niche requested by the sponsor.
Like commerce, publishers are still experimenting with how to lasso the opportunity to
create content for brands that is either strictly marketing or a new kind of editorial product.
4. Value in archives
Publishers that have been around for a while have an opportunity to turn their dusty
archives into memorabilia, and many are doing just that. The Chicago Sun-Times sold its
entire archive of photos last year to an enthusiast. That’s not a good example of creating
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31. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO more incremental revenue through a digital storefront, but it shows the willingness for
BUILD DIGITAL REVENUE cont’d people to pay for “old” content.
A service called Image Fortress works with publishers like The Chicago Tribune, powering
archiving and monetization services to preserve and sell photo archives. It’s a step in the
right direction for publishers to start profiting off of their legacy, rather than letting it
weigh them down.
Archives are still an untapped opportunity for publishers to create revenue streams. Beyond
Archives are still an selling archives — a very tangible example of archival value — publishers could repackage
and attract new readers of old content. Early examples include The New York Times’ topic
untapped opportunity pages, which aggregates information around a topic by leveraging semantic technology,
for publishers to create and valuable databases like New York Magazine’s Restaurant Guide.
revenue streams. The New York Times’ Michael Zimbalist said at paidContent Mobile last year that archives
have “information shadows” publishers could be compensated for. “It is entirely possible
that there will be new sources of value unlocked from content archives, which will
be become part of the business model that will sustain content businesses in mobile
channels,” he said.
5. New ad formats
It might be ironic to talk about advertising as an innovative digital revenue strategy, but
there’s still life in the online ad model. Creative advertising formats offer new opportunities
for publishers to sell advertising in new places.
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32. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
5 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO For instance, companies such as Solve Media and NuCaptcha offer ads in the CAPTCHA
BUILD DIGITAL REVENUE cont’d security tests many publishers use to authenticate users.
Social media is another new venue where publishers are finding new advertising
opportunities. Minnpost.com’s Real Time Ads pull in messages from an advertiser’s social
media accounts into a widget. As of November, the publisher had approximately $15,000 in
annual contracts using real-time ads, according to Mashable.
These are only a few of the new tactics (some of which are a spin on the old tactics)
publishers are using to try to build additional revenue, even if it’s just a little bit here
and there. What other strategies work for publishers? Please share your thoughts in the
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33. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
HOW GEO SCALES INTERNATIONAL
CONTENT TO LOCAL MARKETS
BY ELLIE BEHLING GEO magazine’s digital strategy could be a model for other publishers: Take one strong
international brand, add a centralized technology platform, and scale it to local markets.
GEO is published in 21 countries by Gruner + Jahr of Hamburg, Germany. The monthly
magazine focuses on in-depth journalism and photography (akin to National Geographic). Last
year GEO’s website rolled out localized versions to nine countries, including Spain, Finland,
Russia and six Eastern European countries.
GEO licenses its brand (print and/or online) to local publishers for a fee. International content is
centrally produced and provided to the local partners, who tailor the edition and add their own
content. As André Möllersmann, head of international brands and licenses at G + J, said last
year: “The result is a local magazine in local language with outstanding editorial quality and a
As different models for localization emerge, GEO’s strategy serves as an interesting example
of how centralized technology enables a publisher to scale by providing locally filtered and
community-driven international content. In a phone interview, Möllersmann talked about GEO’s
Local content publishing is difficult to make profitable, so G + J decided to focus on centralizing
it, he said. From Hamburg, the company develops and hosts all of the sites for partners in other
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34. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
HOW GEO SCALES INTERNATIONAL countries. (Two countries also host on their own.) The company uses the open-source eZ Publish
CONTENT TO LOCAL MARKETS cont’d for content management.
Individual countries are in charge of their own editorial operations and advertising sales. The
business model is mostly advertising-driven, in addition to some merchandise sales.
Each country has full responsibility for its editorial content, Möllersmann explained. Editors
Individual countries are of the main brand select internationally relevant content to deliver to local editors. Translated
international content usually makes up about 80% of the content and local content comprises
in charge of their own about 20%.
editorial operations and
“On the content side we’re offering a package but the responsibility editorially lies with
advertising sales. country,” he said.
User-generated content is also a part of the mix, easily integrated thanks to the photo-driven
nature of GEO. Most of the markets feature a photo community where photographers, whether
hobbyist or professional, can share photos.
GEO centralized platform model has been applied to other G + J brands – most recently the
lifestyle magazine GALA. The International Parenting Network, sprung from the parenting
magazine ELTERN, has rolled out in nine countries on the centralized platform. The parenting
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35. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
HOW GEO SCALES INTERNATIONAL content has especially proved successful in this model, Möllersmann said: In France, G + J’s
CONTENT TO LOCAL MARKETS cont’d website Enfant.com had a traffic increase in 2009 of 254%.
G + J has also started dipping into mobile. The magazine currently offers one iPad app rather
than different ones for each local site. The company’s GEO Selection began as an English-
language app but is now also available in German and soon Spanish. The company opted for an
English-language version first to help expand its U.S. presence and because English-language
apps have the largest reach, Möllersmann said.
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36. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
EDITORS AS THE NEW AUDIENCE
BY ELLIE BEHLING I recently met an audience development manager at a major B2B media company, who
explained his job to this effect: “We’re the ones who get the audience for those of you in
editorial to write about.”
When you put it that way, it intrigued me. I responded something along the lines of: “Well,
that’s actually part of my job as well.” Not only are journalists interacting more with our
audience, but increasingly we are, directly or indirectly, charged with creating content aimed to
maintain and attract an audience — a.k.a. audience development, right?
Media companies and audience development managers should be leveraging this approach to
their advantage. Meanwhile, journalists should be honing their skills to be individual brands
and audience specialists.
The trend is part of the greater move and necessity of editors to understand the business side of
media. In a previous post, I spoke more broadly about how the role of the editor is changing to
incorporate more marketing, audience development and business development. Here are three
specific ways editors are taking on larger audience development roles.
Editors as audience specialists
sponsored by Search
SEO has been one of the biggest drivers to get journalists and media companies thinking about
their audience. Content strategy continues to evolve like the search landscape. Beyond just
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37. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
EDITORS AS THE NEW AUDIENCE optimizing for Google, the thought of “giving users what they want” has dramatically shifted
SPECIALIST cont’d some of the thinking behind how content is conceptualized and delivered.
I recently had an email conversation with Robert Keenan, vice president of Online Media for
B2B publisher at Edgell Communications, about the emerging role of journalists as audience
developers. He offered a helpful insight:
Here’s what I tell editors. In the old days, editors relied on an audience development
department to build lists and it was their job to maintain the relationship. And, one of the
great ways to judge that was through the annual re-up rate for the publication. But, those
days are long behind us now. Just look at the impact Google has had on our business. Today
we not only need to write stories that engage users, we also have to write in a way that
allows Google to effectively rank and index our content. Therefore, as an editor writes a piece
of content, it has to be done in a way that it generates audience through the search engines.
Social media has obviously given editors the unprecedented opportunity to interact with our
audiences and create engaging content catered to them. Editors are crucial to building and
running communities and growing relationships with readers, just like we’ve always been.
Now the results are simply more measurable in our number of retweets or the length of time a
reader stays on the page.
In the last couple of years, most media companies have transferred the reins of social media to
editorial rather than marketing, though it’s different in many organizations — and an example
of an area where marketing and editorial collide. It’s common at a small media organization
to find an editor running most of the social content and managing and encouraging Twitter
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38. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
EDITORS AS THE NEW AUDIENCE followers and Facebook fans (either for their own following or that of their organization).
SPECIALIST cont’d Editors, essentially, are filling the role of “social circulation managers.”
Being their own brands
We’ve all certainly heard this observation enough: Journalists are their own brands, whether
they work at The Washington Post or are Perez Hilton. Google is now even highlighting
individual content creators in search results.
...finding editors with These days, finding editors with solid brands is the same thing as finding solid editors, period.
Steve Buttry, director of community engagement and social media at the Journal Register Co.,
solid brands is the wrote an insightful post this week about how part of having a good brand is being a good
journalist. “Branding” is not undermining the traditional editorial skills. “Branding is never as
same thing as finding important as being able to deliver the goods,” he said.
solid editors, period.
Rather than fighting it, publishers can make use of these journalists as individual assets and
audience ambassadors. Think of every journalist as a club with its own newsletter, representing
another channel of communication to benefit the larger media organization. When you “buy”
a journalist, you’re getting his or her list.
New audience development roles
The expanded roles editors are taking on don’t make the audience development department
irrelevant (no, we don’t want your business job). But it’s important to recognize how the two are
overlapping. To go back to the opening example in this post, let’s just say an audience development
manager shouldn’t feel the need to explain what they do to a journalist – and vice versa.
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39. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
EDITORS AS THE NEW AUDIENCE If editors are charged with creating content with the audience in mind, audience development
SPECIALIST cont’d managers are charged with turning that audience into revenue.
“On the audience development front, this also means there needs to be a change in the way
users are engaged,” Keenan said. “Specifically, audience development managers and executives
have to now learn how to mine the data they receive from content developed by editors in
order to increase conversions to newsletters, websites, lead gen products, and print vehicles.”
Audience development managers can also help interpret the audience for journalists to better
serve them. It’s a throwback to the binder of audience research editors have always been provided
by audience development departments. Now we have high-powered analytics at our fingertips.
The new newsroom
It’s important for media companies of all types to recognize and encourage the growing role
of journalists as audience developers, arming them with the right training and tools. Enthusiast
publisher Interweave, for example, made a significant
investment to train its employees in skills like SEO, social media
optimization (SMO) and content marketing.
Forbes’ recent newsroom restructuring is the perfect example
of how the roles are changing. Lewis Dvorkin’s new newsroom
houses an audience development team within the editorial
department and puts audience data at the center of all
initiatives (as shown in in the diagram). “The New Newsroom is
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40. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
EDITORS AS THE NEW AUDIENCE about collaboration – between editorial, product, design, production – and, yes, the advertising
SPECIALIST cont’d sales and marketing departments, too,” he wrote in a recent post.
In addition to reconsidering the structure and training of the newsroom, publishers should be
recruiting editors who “get” how to engage and produce for their audience. An editor-in-chief
of an organization (particularly in B2B) has often been recruited for their brand and respect,
and that attitude is trickling down to all editorial staff. If journalists are going to be pivotal
in bringing in the right audience, it’s still as crucial as it’s always been for media companies to
bring in the right journalists.
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41. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER
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Device users, and Today, leading media and publishing companies are turning to
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42. Publisher’s Playbook: Audience Development Strategies
SPONSOR CONTENT: WHY SHOULD Increase traffic and site stickiness
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CONTENT STRATEGY? cont’d
time and again. Publishers who have optimized their distribution of content through many
channels are seeing an update in traffic and quality of readers across every media outlet.
Reach a broader audience through new channels
eZ delivers content to any channel. Whether consumption is happening online, on a mobile
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28% to 26% of tablet eZ delivers unsurpassed multichannel capabilities that enable customers to reach out and engage
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respectively, even report
reading more printed
content since they began
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