There has been some big news in the publishing industry recently, beginning with Condé Naste announcing the closure of four magazines. Gourmet, the oldest culinary magazine in America, will cease print publication after a final November issue, but continue to offer content via its website. Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride are also being shut down.
Magazines and newspapers alike continue to struggle to generate profits with print publications — and print ads.
[...] publishers can no longer rely on the traditional print advertising model alone to see them through to profits. [..] Not only is the future of print in adapting to new models, be it digitally or beyond, but it also will be about finding several revenue streams from their content to offset losses from advertising, and rethinking the old — and sometimes cost inefficient — processes for producing magazines.
But as nice as “go digital” sounds as a solution, there is still the issue of how to generate revenue from online content. Should it be ad-based? Subscriber-based? Will readers pay for online content? These are just a few of the questions that are debated as publications move online and e-publishing continues to grow. Now the industry will have a big-name example to potentially follow: Disney.
Today The Walt Disney Company launched a subscription-based website — DisneyDigitalBooks.com — where it offers hundreds of digital children’s books for $79.95 a year. Users can choose stories that they read themselves, or follow along on the screen as voice actors read the books to them.
By pursuing a subscription online model — as opposed to focusing on downloads and sales for devices like the Kindle — Disney is placing a specific bet about where the children’s market is going, at least in the next three to five years. The move could send ripples through this corner of publishing, if only because of the size of Disney, which annually sells 250 million children’s books.
Disney’s plan is to utilize the online space to lead into other areas of the market that were previously unavailable to them, such as language learning. But as more content is being made available digitally, there are some fears that the increase in electronic publications will lead to widespread online file sharing and abuse of copyright, causing the publishing industry to suffer the same fate as the recording industry.
From choosing a revenue generating plan to choosing the best medium for their content, it’s clear that magazine, newspaper, and book publishers have many hard decisions ahead of them. It will be interesting to see how successful the industry is as a whole at adapting their business strategies to the digital world.