Content marketers should keep a close eye on digital content, which is experiencing some serious changes on all levels. Perhaps stemming from the increased popularity and push for digital libraries, some publishers are now considering and moving content sales based on the same business model.
Publishers and content marketers are setting aside one-off sales in favor of a system that lets you create a subscription system for “all-you-can-read” content. The idea isn’t perhaps entirely new when you consider that Netflix did the same thing with DVDs. Digital content subscriptions also already work on a similar level, allowing subscribers to pay a monthly rate at a fraction of the print cost in exchange for digital delivery straight to their Kindle or iPad. This new idea pushes the content market even further and perhaps will increase competition among the traditional route for both print and digital subscriptions.
Take Next Issue Media, for example, who offer “all the magazines you love” under one app for between $9.99 to $14.99 a month depending on the plan. It sounds like a great deal and a much cheaper alternative if you’re already purchasing top digital or print magazines in your industry or fields of interest. Unfortunately, it doesn’t yet offer all the more niche publications. Rather, users get a wide selection of publications for female audiences with a sprinkling of publications for business-minded or gender neutral selections. Still it’s a great business model and a company worth keeping an eye on.
Peeking behind the Next Issue Media curtain, you’ll find that five major U.S. publishers pulled together to offer the 39 available subscriptions based on their collective publishing houses. You’ve got Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time all pulling together to offer new modes of content streams. In addition to gaining full subscriber info, publishers are slotted to reap in 70% of each sale, which exceeds their exchange compared to the current Apple deal.
If major publishing houses are tapping into this channel, then you should probably be paying close attention. Despite the sometimes overwhelming flood of content, it’s pretty clear that readers aren’t tuning out but rather tuning in. They want more content, more options and increased flexibility.
Litfy is doing the same thing, but for books. Currently in Beta and ideal for students/teachers, Lifty offers thousands of free e-books on any device. Readers can interact with the text through bookmarking, highlighting and taking margin notes. There’s also a strong social feature. In addition to sharing in social media, readers can review, rate and create lists; they can also create digital book clubs and join forums.
These models apply to you even if you’re not in the content business. The same business models have been popping up in fashion and accessories, where online stores are offering women subscriptions for various exchanges ranging from monthly shipment of unique styles based on your style I.Q. ShoeDazzle does it for shoes and JewelMint for exclusive jewelry.
Businesses benefit from offering recurring payment models that ensure they’ve secured a repeat customer who will continue to flock to their brand and product. The goal is to offer them something of value and make it as simple as possible to opt-in. Business owners can take a more creative approach and establish a similar model for setting up a network of local and industry leaders for joint digital or live hosting opportunities via webinar, networking and social events, to exclusive business consulting opportunities.
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