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Digital Publishing Outlook

In their recent publication Outlook insights: an analysis of the global entertainment and media outlook 2014–2018 (, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLC provides a detailed analysis for businesses to understanding where consumers and advertisers are spending their money in the entertainment and media industry. Being able to forecast and compare consumer behavior and advertising trends enables digital magazine publishers to plan strategically for the future and answer the important questions shaping the industry.

One of the key insights gleaned from the report is good news. In 2015, the magazine publishing industry will reverse years of decline to record 0.2% year-on-year growth as overall digital gains outweigh falling print revenue. In 2018, total magazine revenue will reach US$98.1bn, up from US$97.1bn in 2013.

We have known for a long time that over the past decade or so the publishing industry has moved more and more toward digital content. Though publishing has been splitting between print and digital for some time, it’s becoming increasingly evident that publishing digitally is now the rule rather than the exception.

In the early days of digital publishing the standard procedure was to convert print publications to a digital format. Literally the only difference between the print and digital version was the delivery method. Books and magazines were digitally formatted to be read on e-readers, tablets and smartphones. This model was relatively easy and quick to implement, but it often produced a product that was less than satisfactory. The nature of the new technology and hardware is dynamic, not static and two-dimensional like a print product. The new and exciting possibilities that digital offers necessitates the creation of digital-specific content.

According to PwC, digital consumer magazine circulation revenue will see the fastest growth, reaching

US$5.7bn in 2018. As companies have more success in turning digital magazine consumption from free-of-charge websites to paid-for digital editions, digital will move from accounting for 4% of total consumer magazine circulation revenue in 2013 to 14% in 2018. This increase will in large part be the result of offering consumers an immersive experience, with the integration of social media and real-time analytics to provide instant interaction between publisher and reader.

The Pew Research Journalism Project: State of the News Media 2014 report, states that half of all social media users share or repost news stories, images, and videos, and nearly half (46 percent) discuss news issues or events on social network sites. This organic sharing of news and information is an amazing opportunity for digital magazine publishers to increase reach and monetization.

Just one example of this new paradigm is that Facebook recently announced that the social network’s average referral traffic to media sites increased 170 percent in 2013. Mobile is playing an increasing role for publishers’ overall traffic. According to a report from Shareaholic, More than half of Facebook’s referral traffic to media sites in January 2014 came from mobile, according to a recent report from Shareaholic ( Overall, 16.2 percent of site referrals came from Facebook.

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