Using analytics and creating efficiencies in the digital publishing game

Publishers have to place analytics at the heart of their business as they migrate print brands to digital platforms.
Paul Hudson, director of FutureFolio, emphasised the importance of using analytics (“hard facts”) to drive decision-making in the digital journey.
Hudson, a former journalist and now self-described coder (he is now the lead architect of FutureFolio), offered the audience at the Worldwide Media Marketplace in London some insight into Future Publishing’s journey to digital, in particular tablets (including the development of their own publishing platform, FutureFolio).
According to Hudson, more than half the magazines available on Apple Newsstand on launch were Future publications. Today, someone “downloads a future magazine every five seconds”.
In addition to describing key features of the FutureFolio platform, such as using templates to allow for efficient publishing across devices, he gave the following tips to the audience on how “to maximise revenue across platforms at low cost and without overworking people”:
1.    Have great digital magazine idea [the “BIG IDEA”]
2.    Toss it away, because it was probably a bad idea to begin with
3.    Find something smaller – go for the quick wins
4.    Get the minimum viable product (MVP) out the door, and then get ready to change
5.    Be prepared to learn – “we have fantastic analytics, we know exactly what our readers do (and want). Half the time you(r assumptions) will be wrong”
6.    And again, be prepared to change, using the facts (data and stats) at your disposal
7.    Start small, learn fast and be flexible
8.    Aggressively market the product
The platform underpinning development is crucial. It has to create efficiencies and empower staff to translate content into a quality offering.
Other tips included:
1.    Get staff to think digitally – additional pictures, behind the scenes videos and more that can be used in the digital edition
2.    Use device features to “surprise and delight” readers
3.    Don’t treat the digital edition as “some necessary evil” – it has to exist as its “own product”
4.    Build an auto-renew subscription strategy
5.    Don’t think of print versus digital as a zero sum game. One does not have to lose for the other to win

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