Publishers, once the go-to source for news, information, and editorials, have been forced to reinvent the space due to total digital domination. The decreased demand for print copy has posed a challenge to publishers. In February 2009, PEW Research Center Publications reported that the print losses were considerable and the digital era was making a significant impact in the minds of consumers.
A reactive shift in strategy has helped publishing houses adapt, incorporating digital distribution methods and allowing advertisers to reach greater audiences through multiple platforms. Smart implementation of new strategies has helped recover a portion of the business initially lost to the internet. Few magazines of these could survive the loss of ad revenue if they were to eliminate print in favor of a web-only publishing model. What works for these publishers is moving timely and directed content to web media, and utilizing print to preserve income from advertisers. In this model, subscribers also have increased access to content that is updated more quickly, an increase in quality of service – a benefit to the publication’s brand.
The change is paying off. For magazines and newspapers, the rate-card-reported advertising revenue for the first six months of 2011 represented a 4% increase versus the same period in 2010. In fact, the sector has posted increases in ad revenue and pages for 5 consecutive quarters. We’re seeing a resurgence, and we’re seeing it across all markets — trade, academic, professional,” said Tina Jordan, Vice President of the Association of American Publishers in the New York Times on August 11. “In each category we’re seeing growth. The printed word is alive and well whether it takes a paper or digital delivery.”
Despite the industry’s heavy favor for digital distribution, publishing isn’t yet a sinking ship. Smart adaptation has helped plug holes in the hull, but there may still be uncertainty as to how long the dollars will continue to come in for print. Although it’s difficult to predict where publishing will be in 10 years, it’s safe to say that it will be shaped by changes in consumer behavior and digital innovation.