Many recent studies on the digital publishing industry are predicting that growth in North American consumer spending on Internet access, movies, and digital formats of music, books and video games is expected within the next few years, to outpace that of the gross domestic product. Increased digital readership will most likely drive overall magazine ad sales up 3% annually to $13.5 billion in 2016, as magazine sales rise to $21.3 billion. Newspaper ads, including print and digital, are expected to fall 2% annually to $21.6 billion. Spending on newspapers will hold steady at about $9.7 billion as paid digital publishing circulation slowly rises.
While these numbers are moving in the right direction, digital content publishers will have to continue to evolve to make a profit from online digital publishing. Businesses must innovate and develop their business model around the idea of digital publishing and monetizing the user experience. It is becoming apparent that the magazine print business will eventually die off sooner or later. A good thing for the environment is that trees will no longer be the vehicle for getting news, but publishers will have to embrace digital publishing and find a way to replace and increase the revenue that had been generated by the old print model.
Traditional media companies are quickly learning that they also need to be digital publishing technology companies. To quickly become proficient in the new digital publishing landscape, the trend to use talent from the outside will surely continue. Literary talent familiar with digital publishing and cutting-edge digital publishing technology must combine to survive in the new media landscape. Companies must fight to maintain their edge while still producing an exciting product. Instead of offering something that looks like the same old magazine, only on a digital device, there is an unprecedented opportunity to use digital publishing technology to create unique ways for people to consume information.
As has always been the case, the user experience is very important, and even in these early stages of this new digital publishing technology there is an expectation about what an app should look and feel like. The digital customer expects a very satisfying experience no matter what the content, and ease of use is a top requirement. Tablet and other portable digital devices offer media the opportunity to tell their story in myriad exciting ways, no longer limited to only the printed word. There is more content being produced today than ever before and the challenge for digital publishing content providers is to stand out. Quality content presented in new and appealing ways, using all of the features intrinsic to digital media, will mean the difference between success and failure for an app or publication.