The publishing industry has reinvented itself to adapt to the pervasiveness of the Internet and the possibilities it offers for easier and faster delivery of content. Publishers have utilized the Internet in two ways to monetize content. They have sold their content utilizing a direct-to-consumer model, or made the content freely available online, depending upon advertising to achieve returns. Publishers have been largely successful in monetizing their content for so long as they had exclusivity over the content and the industry did not suffer from a significantly disruptive form of external competition. However, over the past few years publishers have begun to realize that 'traditional' digital content monetization approaches are under pressure due to various economic, social and technological factors within and outside the publishing industry. Therefore, the key to successfully monetize their content is to experiment with different models and constantly evolve.
In a whitepaper titled- 'Content Monetization Strategies for the Digital Publisher: A step by step approach for successful digital transformation', that I recently co-authored, we discuss the opportunities for publishers in content monetization and analyze current examples of monetized content in publishing industry segments: newspaper publishing, periodical publishing, trade publishing, and business information services. We also present the technology architecture and components that publishers must invest in today -namely, digital asset management, web content management, authentication, micropayments, customer relationship management and usage analytics -in order to implement winning content monetization models.
Different revenue and pricing models are already in use for monetizing digital content in the publishing industry segments of newspapers, magazines and trade publishing -some have already realized success. However, publishers must note that consumers are willing to pay for content when it is appealing, but they also require transparent pricing and billing models that are easily understood. Many companies in the music, movies and gaming industries have been successful in monetizing their digital content and publishers could learn a lesson or two from these industries. Publishers have a variety of levers that can be employed to grow revenues in the digital world including a pay wall, single item sales, tiered access, extra content and archive access business models. After identifying the correct business model, publishers must ensure that they have the data tools and applications that will guarantee success. Publishers must note, the underlying technology architecture needs to be flexible as well as extensible, so that they do not need to invest in new technologies every time they experiment with a new content offering. Only those publishers with the right architecture and technology solutions will be successful as both audiences and business models will change over time.