Magazines: Paid content and paywalls

A report from a session at the 38th FIPP World Magazine Congress

Oct 12, 2011 03:19:00 PM | Article | Suman Srivastava

The session on paid content and paywalls threw up some interesting propositions.
Alessandro Cederle, president, ANES, Italy, and chief executive officer, Ediemme Gruppo Editoriale, Italy stated, "In advertising, a user is worth X times less than a reader; and "free" content is the password on the net.”
He said, "When the content is free, providing micro-localised content becomes necessary. And if content adds value to my value chain, I am willing to pay a price for it."
According to Cederle, value meant: "Speed, timeliness, accuracy, categorisation, depth and scope and verticalisation."
The way forward, he felt was to forget what you have: start from what, when and how the customer needs content in your domain. Furthermore, standard doesn’t exist, relevance is everything.
He added, "Chances are you already have some content you can make money with - so digitise your content repository and be ready to waste most of it."
Cederle felt that pricing is tricky so start from what is more convenient for your customer. And you will build a solid customer base. He told the delegates to take a serious look at mobile phone usage which is "an untapped market".
Mahesh Murthy, founder and chief executive officer, Pinstorm India, who was the moderator for the session pointed out that  digital is the second largest growing market in India.
He said, "We tried creating a fake webpage of Poonam Pandey, the model who has been threatening to strip for the Indian cricket team and still not done that. We tested the possibility of Google crawlers and within 24 hours, we touched over 70,000 hits."
James Tye, chief executive officer, Dennis Publishing, UK explained how  the group has always been profitable in digital - and 40 % of its ad revenue comes from digital in UK. Of this,1.3% of its reader revenue comes from apps in 2011, from zero usage in 2010. Dennis Publishing expects it to cap 5% in the next 12 months.
He said, To get good money out of apps, you  need to be on top of the app store."
For this he felt publishers need to understand the technology since customers are willing to pay and subscribe. Tye highlighted the importance of separate teams for ads and deployment.
Tye stated, "It's about the iPad for now, work with different providers. Stop thinking like publishers. Ensure the product is bug-free and properly tested, and keep the download size down."
He concluded  by stating: "Pricing is your biggest lever - so use it. A competitive set is different. Brand time and money are all that matter to customers."