Ten predictions for digital publishing for 2011

It’s been a helter skelter ride this year for publishers working out their digital strategy.  Apps have come from nowhere to a core part of the publishing toolkit in just a year.  Murdoch finally implemented his paywall and had some sort of success with it.  Digital editions are being reborn with the ipad and other tablets.  And social media has made editors think again about how they broadcast their content and manage contributions from their readers.  Joakim Ditlev of Zmags asked me to come up with some predictions for 2011; these are inevitably biased towards specialist publishers as my main constituency.  Be interesting to review them in twelve months time…

1. Specialism pays

Newspapers will struggle with paywalls but specialist consumer and business to business publishers will be able to charge for online content

2. Next generation digimags

Print publishers will move on from replica content in digital media to bespoke digital magazines, with links, video and live news and social updates

3. Digital substitution for CC

Business publishers will replace free and controlled circulation print copies with digital versions and gradually reduce frequency of print publications

4. Mobile subs

Publishers will solve the subscription issue with appstore magazine purchases, and experiment with combined print and digital subscriptions so subscribers can consume content however they choose.

5. Tablet shares move

ipads will still dominate the tablet market, but android will gain ground for more budget-conscious consumers

6. Social editorial

Social media will help publishers build their community and create “prosumer” content for their websites and digital editions

7. Multi-skilled editors

Editorial teams will develop skills across copy, pics, social media, podcasts, webinars and video, choosing the right medium for the message

8. Inspiration to sale

Advertisers will use digital publishing formats to bridge the gap between editorial recommendation and online purchase, with direct links to buy.

9. Thinking local

Digital publishers will start to localise their content according to the readers’ location

10. Open editorial

Editors will become more open-minded, curating content in their specialist area from their own team, their own audience, and even linking to the competition.

About the author:

Carolyn Morgan advises specialist media businesses on their digital strategy through her consultancy Penmaen Media. She frequently writes and speaks on strategic issues in digital publishing.  She runs the Specialist Media Network on linked-in, where over 400 specialist media owners swap ideas and contacts.

Carolyn launched the Specialist Media Show, an event for specialist media owners to learn about the opportunities created by technology, including an exhibition, workshop and conference.  The next event is on 25 May 2011.

If you’d like some guidance on developing your own digital publishing strategy for 2011, please contact us for an initial chat.  Read recommendations for Carolyn from media businesses.