Monthly Archives: October 2009

Developing mobile apps, monetising social media, models for paid content, e-readers… and more



If you work in specialist consumer or business media markets I am sure you have a list of new ideas that you think might present good opportunities for the development of your business.

I’d be happy to wager that at least one of the following topics was on that list:

  • How can I build up a community around my brands and where’s the payback for my time?
  • What extra information should I be collecting from my readers – and what should I then do with that data?
  • Can I develop mobile applications for some of my products?
  • What part of my marketing process can I automate – including setting up a series of trigger e-mails?
  • If e-Readers gain mainstream acceptance does this open up a new distribution channel for my content?
  • As I develop new content offerings what is the best model to pursue in a digital world – free, freemium or paid?
Paid digital content

Paid digital content

The problem is that a lot of these areas work around technological change and the business models are just evolving.

But if you have one day free on November 19th and can get to London then I have a solution.

The Specialist Information Publishers Association’s next Online Publishing and Marketing Summit takes a different format to most media events. Alongside some great formal presentations there is a twin track programme of roundtable discussions led by media industry leaders.

The programme features speakers from both the UK & the US including representatives from: Incisive Media, Electric Word, Euromoney, Ink on Dead Trees, eConsultancy, Brando Social, Silverpop, Canonbury Publishing, Harvard Health, Emap Inform, Melcrum Publishing, Qube Media and Informa Pharma. The day will be hosted by my ex-coleague and all round good egg, Louise White.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps

If you’re a SIPA member you can register at a discount rate of £270 if you do so before the end of October. It’s £350 for non-members (but ask about how to join and benefit from the member rates).

Numbers will be limited to ensure that the roundtable sessions are manageable.

Full programme details can be found here. I hope you’ll be able to join us.

If you have any queries drop me a note in the comments section below (I am a SIPA board member) or contact Karen Hindle



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Can you really transition from print to online?

Fish and chips don’t taste the same out of a laptop

Originally uploaded by Rory Brown

Over the past few months I have done a few pieces of consultancy work for a range of media companies. Most of it has been around managing the transition from an analogue to a digital world.

We talk about the different ‘publishing’ disciplines involved online and of incorporating new tools into their websites with community elements, social media, blogs and video.

We talk about search engine optimisation to open up the content to a raft of new visitors; about different advertising opportunities and the various models for paid content.

We talk about moving our content up the value chain so that it can really become ‘must have’ rather than ‘nice to have’.

It’s all good and exciting stuff. The things that a modern media company must be doing and yet we are still left with a problem.

The problem is that there are hardly any examples of print products that have transitioned online and been a commercial success. Print pounds get turned into digital pennies and publishers are forced to prop up their declining brands rather than turning them off.

In fact the only people who seem to be able to make an online world work are the ones who start from scratch – look at the examples of TechCrunch, Mashable or eConsultancy.

So maybe we need to start looking at things in a different way. Maybe instead of looking at the transition of a product that was successful in a different medium we should be actively looking to bring those products down. We should be launching the very start-ups that threaten our eco-system around the edges of our brands.

If we don’t do it, then someone else undoubtedly will.

As Claire Enders of Enders Analysis said recently “The expectations that the online model is going to replace the print model are totally erroneous. We know now that these are not substitutes. It’s basically an extra feature one way or another.”


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