The newsstand of the future can be found directly on your smartphone or tablet, FIPP World Congress attendees learned today. In what Michelle Bottomley, President of Zinio, USA, called a “mobile explosion,” it is evident that exposure to digital devices is growing rapidly. In addition to a mobile explosion, it is expected that there will be a 59 per cent increase in tablet ownership by 2014.
In an exploration into the world of growing digital newsstands, expert Bottomley was joined by experts Mark Wood, CEO of Future in the United Kingdom, and Girish Ramdas, CEO and co-founder of Magzter in the United States. Wood suggested that over the next few years, content models will change, but companies will have to be prepared. With the evolution of digital newsstand change comes the opportunity for new revenue streams via native advertising, e-commerce, article charging, paywalls, and advanced advertising models. However, Wood admitted “We’re all on a journey, and a lot of work can be to be done to improve navigation.”
Improving navigation in digital newsstands may start with consumer research. “As we go to digital, it is about the consumer and thinking about their needs: where do they live, work, and play?” revealed Bottomley. Understanding consumer needs helps to create an emotional connection between consumers and brands or magazines. It builds a base of consumers who can help to drive the success of the brands in the digital space. Bottomley explained that a magazine is more than a magazine when consumers can follow and share a magazine with like-minded people who are just as passionate about the magazine. In the case of developing a successful digital newsstand, it is now possible for users to save their favorite writers and to discover new writers. “The digital newsstand of the future should promote discovery,” Bottomley said.
There are many opportunities and issues in digital newsstands, according to Ramdas. The digital newsstand doesn’t have to be a simple integrated digital newsstand. There is the opportunity for newsstands to create interactivity for its magazines. Now, digital magazines can include interactive editorial or advertising without the struggle of expensive software. The digital newsstand can enable publishers to become digital innovators.
In terms of the growth of digital newsstands, there are boundless opportunities for both small and large companies to become digital innovators in order to drive their personal brand and the brands of their partners. In the wise words of Michelle Bottomley, “It has never been a better time to be in publishing.”