How to Make Money from Digital Editions


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As readers' habits evolve, digital editions are making serious inroads into mainstream culture, encouraged by the growth in eReaders like Amazon's Kindle and Apple's new iPad. The major challenge now facing publishers is how to monetize digital editions and generate additional revenue, above and beyond the cost savings digital editions already demonstrate. This whitepaper looks at seven key ways of making digital editions pay.

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How to Make Money from Digital Editions

  1. 1. How to make money from digital editions Robert Elding ® Marketing Director YUDU Media
  2. 2. ® How to make money from digital editions Print magazines and newspapers are described as being in a ‘death spiral’ with print inflation, advertising decline and online readership migration seriously threatening their ability to operate profitably. Print inflation across ink and raw pulp has been significant whilst biennial Royal Mail post increases have further eroded margins. The latest postage increase, in April 2010, will see rises of 8% for larger items. Meanwhile, advertising publishing revenue has plummeted by an average of 10% or more in the UK, with some groups like Trinity Mirror seeing declines of as much as 25% Overlaid on top of this is a structural transformation with many readers choosing to consume media online rather than in print. In January 2010, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported sales falling below 700,000 for the very first time yet its website is seeing visitor numbers in the tens of millions per month making it, ironically, one of the world’s most popular news sources. 1
  3. 3. Digital Editions As readers’ habits change and evolve, one technology making rapid progress is the digital edition, also known as ‘digital magazines’ or ‘e-books’. Essentially an online publication that allows users to turn pages as though reading a printed version, the technology is making serious inroads into mainstream culture. Encouraged by the growth in eReaders like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s new iPad, The US Book Industry Study Group found that one in five US books were now being bought as digital edition ‘eBooks’. Digital edition technology is being used by newspapers, trade and consumer magazines, as well as catalogue retail companies. The versatility, global reach and cost savings (80% or more over the printed versions) of digital editions make them an ideal solution that responds to the structural changes in publishing as well as the precipitous decline in sales and advertising revenues. There’s also very little additional work for companies and publishers to set up online and test the effectiveness of digital editions - it can be as simple as uploading your current print content; a digital edition can then be created in minutes. The major challenge now facing publishers is how to monetise digital editions and generate additional revenue above and beyond the cost savings digital editions already demonstrate. This whitepaper looks at seven key ways of making digital editions pay, both on a day-to-day operating basis and on a yearly net profit basis. 2
  4. 4. 1 Sell Digital Ad Space. The simplest way to make money using digital editions is to sell advertising space within the digital publication itself. Publishers can charge advertisers an additional fee to include interactive or multimedia elements on the ads that appear in the printed edition. Digital editions also make it possible to easily include additional digital-only pages of advertising, enabling you to sell even more full page/half page/quarter page ad space than your printed edition. There are also numerous other possible advertising or sponsorship opportunities within a digital edition - including ‘page 0’ that sits to the left of the cover, the edition loader, the toolbar and even a digital ‘belly band’, which acts as a wrap- around the publication, much the same as it’s offline counterpart. In addition to the prime spaces mentioned above, or perhaps for those who prefer not to use those spaces for advertising, there’s also SmartTABS. Essentially these are tabs that sit within a digital edition, without obscuring its content, which allow for almost unlimited additional advertising space. The tabs run along the inside edge of the page and can be opened automatically as the reader turns the page or when the reader clicks on them. These can include video advertising, static or flash adverts. 3
  5. 5. 2 Ad Network Streaming. One of the most powerful methods of monetising digital editions is through ad network streaming. What is it? It is the process whereby a third party ad network streams its relevant and targeted advertising inventory into the pages of a digital edition. There is no need for publishers to have a sales department, sales manager or front line sales staff. There’s very little time or effort needed from the publisher to set it up, and the ads can be streamed in without re-laying or obscuring the publication’s content. Once the ad network have placed the advertising inventory, publishers will earn a percentage of ad revenue, based on the publication, audience and page impressions. Up until 2010, the technology never existed for ads to be streamed directly into digital editions from an ad serving network. However, unique developments by YUDU Media has seen the world-first ‘flash in flash’ technology for digital publishing – allowing static, flash or video ads to be streamed into digital editions from an ad serving network. It’s a quick, simple and incredibly effective means of making money from digital editions, made even more powerful by the minimal input required from publishers. Please email for further information. 4
  6. 6. 3 Sell your publication in an online store. Putting your digital magazine into an online subscriptions store is hassle free, quick and has a number of associated benefits. First, the online subscriptions store will typically be a high traffic website so you immediately get a readymade audience. Commission rates will vary but expect a 75%/25% sales split in your favour. A second benefit is that an online subscriptions store will make your publication available to a worldwide audience, helping you to increase your circulation and attract more subscription sales. This gives you access to literally billions of English speakers across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Worldwide demand for English and UK-sourced content has never been higher with more than half of many UK news publishers’ audiences originating from abroad. As one example, nearly 70% of the Mail Online’s readership is based outside the UK. Online digital edition stores are often well ranked in search engines and so can greatly help your publication’s search engine visibility, giving you access to billions more customers than you could possibly achieve offline or if you sold your editions from your own website alone. 5
  7. 7. 4 Use digital editions to build a prospect database. Digital editions can allow you to collect email addresses and therefore build an invaluable opt-in database of readers or interested customers. It’s quite straightforward - you make it a condition for readers to input their email address before being allowed to open and view the digital edition. If your content is strong, readers will be happy to give their email address away in order to read it. The cost of buying-in such high quality data - people who have a guaranteed interest in your title or products – is extremely high and so the savings are immeasurable. In addition to that, you can subsequently use the data to generate additional revenue. Another clever trick is to offer free back-issue, or some other kind of free content, in return for an email address. If the people viewing the back- issue don’t subsequently purchase or subscribe, you can target them with special offers via email. Conversion rates can be extremely high as it’s a quality database of people who are already interested in your title or products. If you build a large prospect database, you can also consider sending co- branded emails and third-party offers from relevant parties. This can all add revenue to your bottom line for little effort. 6
  8. 8. 5 Reach new audiences ‘Cross-platform’ . Digital technology is progressing and more platforms are becoming available for users to view material on. This will allow publishers to monetise their digital editions more easily through wider reach. YUDU Media will this year announce a digital edition solution that will allow publishers to ‘publish once to everywhere’; meaning your readers will be able to see your publication on all mobile and eReader platforms. The technology will do away with the need to produce a new and expensive digital solution for separate mobile platforms. This will save on costs and simultaneously allow- publishers to monetise their digital editions more easily through wider reach. 7
  9. 9. 6 Utilise Search Engine Optimisation. (SEO) If your online publication is highly ranked on leading internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN etc it will mean that more people will find it more easily. This in itself can help you monetise your digital edition in different ways. For example, increasing its visibility could lead to increased title or subscription sales and also increased ad revenue if using ad network streaming, due to higher page impressions. A few digital edition providers such as YUDU Media use search engine optimised technology. This lets consumers find your publication and its content directly over the internet using keywords thereby enhancing page views and readership levels. Reciprocal web links from a digital edition to your main website will additionally help your site’s SEO ranking. 8
  10. 10. 7 Earn from ‘in-title’ or digital catalogue sales. One of the secrets of digital editions is that products can be sold from within a magazine’s pages – this isn’t just a feature available only with digital catalogues. Products that are showcased in magazines can be directly hyper-linked to the retailer’s e-commerce sites and purchased immediately. Magazine publishers can charge retailers a percentage of the sales generated via the digital magazine, in essence acting as an affiliate marketing channel - so long as the relevant deals can be set up with the retailer(s). This allows digital magazines to (almost) fulfil the same functions as a digital catalogue – more than one high street fashion giant is using its customer magazine to allow readers to purchase merchandise via direct click-through from the product photos to the product on the ecommerce site. For catalogue publishers or retailers, YUDU Media has recently launched an eCatalogue add-on entitled ‘SmartCAT ®’. Already a winner at the 2009 ECMOD Supplier Awards, the technology is an intelligent management system that gives catalogue publishers or retailers a variety of swift product ordering options direct from the digital edition. SmartCAT harmonises the prices and product details between digital editions and websites, saving retailers from wasting hundreds of man hours trying to ensure both channels match each other in terms of data and prices. 9
  11. 11. Conclusion At a time of huge structural change, new opportunities are born as the old ways die. Publishing is no different and those publishers who rely on old paradigms will soon find it too late to change. Digital editions are part of the new paradigm and provide a far greater range of monetisation possibilities than many people realise. By using some or all of the digital techniques and solutions outlined in this whitepaper, not only will you have a far greater chance of sustainable revenue for your publication, you will also be far ahead of many of your competitors. Allied to the fact that the entry level cost of a basic digital edition is free - all that is needed is a PDF – the question to ask is “are you using digital editions? If not, why not?” If you would like to see your publication transformed into a digital edition for free, please contact the YUDU team on: (+1) 888-367-9838 (USA) / (+44)0870 760 9258 (UK) email 10
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