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Making multi channel publishing work – five examples

With business publishers expecting over half their revenues to be outside print by 2014 ,and consumer publishers expecting about 40%  – according to the Specialist Media Insights research –  we are already in the era of multi channel publishing.    Media owners now need to juggle print, web, mobile, social, live & online events and increasingly e-commerce.

This challenge was the main theme at Publishing & Media Expo this year, and there were some interesting case studies of how publishers are now starting to work out how to get the different channels to work together well.  Carolyn Morgan has picked out five stories of media owners who are successfully combining channels to build a community and sell more services to them:

DJ Mag, an independent magazine, run by James Robertson, serves the international community of DJs.  Their online presence is vast, with 32 million web visitors, 75,000 facebook likes and an industry-standard poll – the Top 100 DJs.  All this content is free, but James actively collects email addresses, and then promotes his tablet mag, which then promotes the paid print magazine.  He uses sample magazines and PDFs to encourage subscriptions.

The Week, published by Dennis, uses email and their website to encourage trials of their print and digital magazines.  Head of Direct Marketing Abi Spooner explained how they set separate prices for print and digital and even charge print subscribers extra to receive the digital edition as well.  25% of print subscribers now take both, and these “superfans” have much higher renewal rates.  The Week promote all subs combinations to all of their audiences using Adestra’s MessageFocus email platform, and spend time testing how to explain subs bundles.

IFSEC, a security conference run by UBM, has rationalised its live and online activity under a single global brand.  Luke Bilton showed how dedicated teams manage a social media presence and quality online content all year round, building an international community that then attends their live events.  The editorial team then work hard at exhibitions and conferences to generate live social media content and create video content to extend the life of the event.

Football Week – a new launch from Future, is a tablet-only weekly.  Future creates half as magazine style content and then the Press Association provide live feeds that go into a specially designed template.  So it’s a combination of magazine and website, but has no print equivalent.  Mike Goldsmith, editor in chief, uses social media to create a buzz around big stories.  And journalists have to multi-task, creating images words, audio, video and social media around any news stories or interview opportunities.

Autosport – from Haymarket – has been experimenting with a metered paywall since August, and has seen digital subscriptions climb by 25% since that date, replacing the decline in print subscriptions.  The paywall is deliberately leaky, so that readers can share content socially.  Subscribers get premium content, such as data, long form editorial and galleries – and an ad-free environment.

So although at first multi-channel publishing seems daunting, there are many publishers who are juggling free web and social content, paid online and mobile content, live events and even good old fashioned print.  There’s clearly a real strength in having access to a lively online community, even if only a minority will pay for a subscription.

About the author: Carolyn Morgan is a guest blogger for Adestra and works with specialist consumer and b2b publishers to develop practical digital media strategies, building on many years experience in niche publishing. Carolyn runs the Specialist Media Conference, which explores the key issues facing niche publishers, through case studies, panel Q&A and interactive small group discussions. The next event is taking place on 24 April 2013, at the British Library, London. Adestra is the email marketing partner for the Specialist Media Conference. Carolyn also moderates the Specialist Media Network, a lively LinkedIn group where over 1200 niche publishers swap ideas and tips.

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