Thursday, 25th June 2009
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In another of its excellent lunchtime panel series, the Software Information Industry Association (www.siia.net) today tackled emergent mobile platforms in a talk aimed at publishers entitled 'Google, Kindle, iPhone: How to Leverage Hot Content Delivery Platforms for Profits'.
Moderated by Shore Communications' John Blossom, the panelists included Alisa Bowen, SVP and head of consumer publishing at Thomson Reuters; Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of Journalism Online, and Chris Kenneally, director of author relations for the Copyright Clearance Center.
Bowen started with thoughts on how Thomson Reuters regards mobile devices as customers' personal control panels, or 'the remote control for their lives'. Doing so has allowed Thomson to recognize the need to see these devices as mobile computing platforms which lend themselves to a separation of application and content, and provide opportunities for real monetisation.
As Bowen pointed out, 55 million people now use their mobile devices to access the Internet, and the number is projected to climb to 80 million by 2011. Thomson Reuters clearly sees huge potential for the content on these devices. But how to capture payments?
Gordon Crovitz's new venture, Journalism Online (http://digbig.com/4ytsn) hopes to show the way. Crovitz shared a recent study that found that while only 6% of Americans pay to subscribe to news online, 92% say that they would pay if asked - up to $25 a month depending on the content.
Crovitz pointed out the fallacy of the all or nothing assumption, saying that news publishers need to be thinking in terms of hybrid models that will combine fee and free content to maximise revenue opportunity and allow the publisher to maintain control of content. He also pointed out that capturing online revenue can reduce the cost for publishers to offer their print products, helping subscription retention rates.
The final panelist, Chris Kenneally, said that as an author himself and working on behalf of rightsholders through CCC, he is firmly committed to helping content creators be paid for what they create.
Both Kenneally and Crovitz applauded the idea of publishers experimenting with different rev models, and believe that the fog will be lifting as these experiments begin to gain traction.
But as Bowen pointed out, paying for content on a web site is not a panacea; there are other elements of the value chain, from licensing to tech to real estate, that publishers need to look at with a hard eye towards controlling costs. The presentation and follow up questions are available in full at http://digbig.com/4yyna.
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