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Trends in Magazine Publishing

The entire magazine industry, including print and digital has been going through profound changes and disruption for at least the last decade. There are many reasons for this, and change itself is not inherently bad as long as it is managed properly. What makes things tricky for publishers is that publishing as we have always known it has almost completely disappeared, and large changes are coming from multiple directions all at the same time.

Digital publishing is more and more becoming the default for the medium. Print is holding its own and even thriving in certain segments and genres, but we are not going back in any meaningful way. As mobile publishing evolves and becomes prevalent over many systems it is geared to be the next standard. While mobile is huge and the revenue potential is virtually untapped, there is as yet no standard model to monetize it. Some organizations have developed revenue models that are uniquely successful, but no one has come up with a proven model that will work across genres and publications. This is a big concern because mobile access is how more than half of digital media users connect with branded media.

Programmatic advertising is also a development to watch. In simple terms, programmatic advertising uses various methods to automate the buying, placement, and optimization of advertisements. This model is dependent on lots and lots of big data. Analytics and CRM become very important, and database is king. Programmatic advertising is huge and growing fast. Some estimates say that it accounts for almost a quarter of the nearly US$60 billion that will be spent on digital advertising this year.

Of course the more digital advertising becomes ubiquitous, the more people will use ad blocking software to avoid it. The battle between advertisers who want to get their message out there and consumers who want an ad-free reading experience is getting fierce, and in many ways the business models and success for the publishing industry depend on a balance between the two. According to The 2015 Ad Blocking Report by Adobe and PageFair, ad blocking will lead to almost $22 billion of lost advertising revenue this year, representing a 41 percent rise over the previous year, and ad-blocking activity now top more than a third of all Internet users in some countries, particularly in Europe. Ad Blocking is here to stay. 21 per cent of people in the US who use the Internet browse the Web with ad blocking enabled, and 41 per cent of millennials use it.

Content Marketing is also a huge player in the current publishing landscape. Content marketing is basically a strategic marketing approach which focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and will call them to profitable action. Successful content marketing attracts and retains customers by creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. At its most fundamental, content marketing is the art of communicating with customers and prospects without selling.

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