Kellie and I attended the PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards and, as in previous years, it was an informative morning conference to catch up with lots of independent publishers and hear the latest in ideas across the industry.
The morning opened with an introduction from Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA before Juan Senor of Innovation Media Consulting/Author of the ‘FIPP Innovation Report’ gave a fascinating talk on the latest in media technology, monetisation ideas and introduced a major theme of the day of moving away from advertising revenue to reader / subscription revenue.
Publishers have discovered giving content away for free is very expensive and doesn’t work in the long term – we must start charging for digital content, creating pay walls and data walls with reader revenue generating c. 40% of digital revenue. It’s predicted that by the end of 2020 people will have 4 subscriptions so this should be viable. Editors will need to come up with great content that will trigger a subscription that’s worth paying for.
- If you give people a binary choice they reject both – give them a choice of 3 and the human mind will pick 1!
- Use the rule of 3 for subscription options – people will pick the one in the middle.
- Rise of the idea of the publisher as a club eg the Guardian
- Events – margins can be low for an event so the trend is making it a festival of 2-3 days
He has a list of 11 business models that he recommends developing at least 3 of – do ask for his slides!
Ian McAuliffe of Think Publishing moderated a discussion on positioning your business for the future which gave insights from some very different types of publishers – presentations available:
Nick Flood, Dennis Publishing [Download Nick’s presentation]
Patrick Napier, Rock Sound [Download Patrick’s presentation]
Rebecca Allen, The Drum [Download Rebecca’s presentation]
Richard Spilsbury not only gave us a quiz which was a great way of bonding with other delegates but insight for publishers thinking of selling their business at some point – what to consider and some pitfalls to avoid.
The keynote speaker Catrin Griffiths, Editor, The Lawyer spoke honestly and inspiringly about her experience leading a prestigious brand through change. She explained the highs and lows of the journey of introducing paywalls, integrating content and data, and creating a market-leading brand.
Roundtable sessions were a good opportunity to share industry knowledge with peers and Kellie and I focussed on the people based ones: Talent Retention and Organisational Culture.
David Gilbey finished up with some more tips and highlights in his masterclass in digital publishing – again I’d highly recommend reviewing the presentation slides for ideas…