The majority of Americans, regardless of their demographic, prefer to receive their news and information on a multitude of platforms and devices. This new reality makes digital publishing mandatory for legacy magazine and newspaper publishers. They will either evolve or go extinct.
Sustaining revenue and profit under this new model is a challenge for enterprises that have done things one way for so very long, but there is a way forward. The majority of traditional publishers are having difficulty developing business models that come close to delivering the scale and profitability of times past.
Digital natives have not had an easy time of it either. The majority of digital-only publishers have not as yet achieved stable, sustaining results although it is too soon to judge for the long term. Maintaining advertising revenue appears to be one of the biggest challenges. Audience numbers and page views have replaced traditional metrics such as ad dollars in determining a venture’s success. And translating those numbers into dollars and cents is not easy.
As of right now, most newspaper and magazine publishers have not generated significant revenues from their digital editions, and some online/native news ventures are moving away from the ad-based model, instead seeking support from venture capitalists and other methods of revenue generation such as subscriptions.
One very positive attribute of online and mobile platforms, which is just beginning to be used in digital business model development, is that they allow advertisers to identify reader activities, locations and interests in real time and serve targeted highly-relevant ads enhanced with clickable actions. Interactivity is becoming the standard for maintaining audience and brand loyalty.