The digital divide: business vs consumer publishers

Business and consumer publishers are both grappling with the challenge of digital media, but their emphasis is very different, according to a new survey of 200 publishers commissioned  recently for the Specialist Media Show.  I’ve summarised below the five main divisions the research highlights between B2B and B2C digital publishing strategies:

1.  B2B have most success with online paid subs

Just 27% of consumer publishers are charging for online content; compared to  59% of business publishers.  Of those who aren’t charging yet, proportionately more b2b publishers are planning to charge (32%) vs consumer publishers (23%).

2. Consumer publishers can charge for digital editions

63% of B2B publishers offer their digital editions free of charge; but only 44% of consumer publishers.  31% of B2C publishers charge for digital editions, vs only 9% of B2B.  However, rates are usually at a substantial discount (20-50%) to print cover prices.

3. Consumer pubs able to charge for mobile apps

Mobile is a level playing field, with similar aspirations for apps among all publishers.   Business models are quite different; however: 63% of consumer publishers plan to charge for apps; again at a discount to print, whilst just 29% of B2B publishers plan to charge; most opting for a free or sponsorship model.   Tablets appear to be more of a consumer channel; with 52% of consumer publishers planning tablet editions, compared to just 39% of business media owners.

4. B2B more interested in online events and networking

All publishers remain keen on live events; but B2B publishers are more interestd in running webinars, distance learning, virtual events and online networking than their consumer colleagues.

5. Consumer publishers see more value in social media

No surprises in the social media platforms of choice: business markets favour linked-in, twitter and blogs, and consumer markets facebook and You Tube.  But what is intersting is that consumer publishers perceive greater value from using social media to sell event tickets, source editorial content, and build relationships with existing customers.

The research was backed by InPublishing, PPA, University of Leicester and Wessenden Marketing, and carried out by eDigital Research.

See other articles based on the same research:

Specialist media lead in digital; still bullish on print

Why live and online events are a priority

Publishers adopting mobile, but readers want print too

What digital content can publishers charge for

Does this research match your own experience?  Please comment below, or join the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in and swap ideas with over 500 other specialist media professionals.

Full results of the research will be presented by Prof Barrie Gunter of University of Leicester and Jim Bilton of Wessenden Marketing at the Specialist Media Conference taking place on 25 May.

See Conference Programme

About the author: Carolyn Morgan runs Penmaen Media, who create practical digital media and publishing strategies for publishers.

If you’d like to see more of this research and create a bespoke digital strategy for your publication, please contact us for an initial discussion.