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It’s ‘all’ about reader revenues, say Innovation Report editors

Without generating revenues directly from readers, journalism is doomed, write the editors of FIPP and Innovation Media Consulting’s Innovation World Report in their editors’ letter for the 2018/19 edition.

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With digital advertising not media’s saving grace it once – from when most the industry “committed the sin” of putting all of their content online for free – promised to be, “it will never support our journalism”, John Wilpers and Juan Señor write. “Only journalism worth paying for will save journalism.”

Innovation World Report 2018-2019 launches on 19 March at Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin. It is the 9th edition of the highly popular annual report.

Save 15% on the cover price by pre-ordering your copies now, before 16 March.

In their editors’ letter Wilpers and Señor write, “The future of magazine media has much potential… but without the support for the folks for whom we create all this great content, well, it will be increasingly unprofitable, and, ultimately, unsustainable.”

They emphasise that “reader revenue is not simply subscriptions”, but includes a diverse portfolio of revenue streams from readers, from commerce to events and newer media formats.

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However, of subscriptions they say, “one of the pleasant discoveries after years of committing the media ‘original sin’ (putting content online for free) is that readers are finally willing to pay for our content… and not necessarily at bargain basement prices.

“The very success of the internet – the massive tsunami of free information – has, in the end, actually worked against the web. Of all the free information out there, what’s trustworthy? Are the authors really experts, or are they poseurs? What is fake news? What is real?“

Quoting The Economist’s (a FIPP member) Michael Brunt, speaking at the FIPP World Congress in October last year, they explain how it offers a trusted filter on world affairs in a “finish-able package” which is the “anti-dote to information overload.” This creates value, with The Economist positioned as a “premium product that costs three to four times more than other similar publications but readers are happy to pay for it.”

They also reference Meredith (also a FIPP member) executive chairman Steve Lacy telling The Wall Street Journal, “The beauty of millennials is that they are very comfortable buying anything online and using a credit or debit card.

“Our interface with them is the credit card and auto renewal. It has to be the right content, and it has to be served to them the way they want it. But they’ll pay for it.”

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Innovation 2018-2019 features:

- Distributed content/social media: It's finally time to end the Facebook addiction. After the so-called "Facebook Apocalypse", media companies will actually be better off in the long run

- Media tech: The top six media technologies you need to know about

- Monetisation: Reader revenue, and also a bevy of other sources to make you as close to bullet-proof as possible

- Offbeat: The wild, the wacky and the wonderful (digital isn't the only place where innovation is happening!)

- New digital narratives: Media companies who employ the best storytelling tools will win audiences; everyone else will shrivel and many will die

- Print: Properly positioned (think premier, subscription-based publications), print can drive significant revenue for a long time to come

You can download the complete editors' letter here and pre-order your copy before 16 March to get 15% off the cover price, here.

The Innovation in Magazine Media 2018-2019 World Report is written for FIPP every year by Innovation Media Consulting Group — a global consultancy helping publishers succeed in the digital age. The report author is John Wilpers, Senior Director USA of Innovation Media Consulting, and it is edited by Juan Señor, Senior Partner.


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Join the editors of the Innovation Report at the Digital Innovators' Summit in Berlin, 19-20 March 2018, for a whirlwind tour of the newest, brightest and most innovative stories from around the world.

Register now to save on the early bird rate which ends 13 March.

Invite the editors to present to you and your colleagues. Contact Helen Bland at FIPP and we'll put you in touch and we can also help you with bulk discounts for book orders, added value for your participants.

FIPP members receive a digital copy of the Innovation Report for free, and save more than 40% on print copies. More about FIPP membership benefits here.

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