Digital Publishing Guest Columns
5 mins read

Information streaming platforms create and share new markets for publishers

Opinion

Publishers competing for attention in crowded market places need to know they can look to information streaming platforms as new sources of additional readers and revenue, argues Ari Assuied, CEO of Cafeyn.

Publishers share a common problem. Print circulations and advertising revenue are going down for nearly everyone and digital income is struggling to make up the shortfall.

This is due to two related issues. Readers have a wide range of competing apps to capture their attention and there is an expectation that everything online or in-app should be provided free.

Publishers had probably hoped that digital would provide a direct path to consumers where print revenues would be at least equalled by engaging content encouraging readers to stay. Instead they have accidentally entered into a war for attention as users, on average, will have around a hundred apps on their smartphone or tablet, but will generally not use more than ten in the average day.

So, there is a massive amount of competition for reader attention at a time where the latest App Annie research suggests discovery and downloads of new apps, as well as app usage, are starting to plateau in mature markets. Its advice to publishers is not to rely so heavily on new readers discovering their app as in the past, but instead find further innovative ways to monetise their content.

When it is difficult to get new downloads, and crucially attention, in mature markets, what publishers clearly need is a supplementary app where attention can be drawn through offering a variety of publications.

An information streaming platform, then, is a route to re-establish the notion of paying for content through services that allow a publisher’s output to earn revenue from new readers who are unlikely to have paid to discover articles on an app restricted to a single title. These are new readers and new revenue streams.

Monetising new audiences

Aggregating content under a single roof addresses one of publishing’s biggest pain points – it is incredibly tough to reach new readers either on the newsstand or within apps. People are generally very loyal to their favourite news and magazine brands. If they are subscribing to these titles, the chances are they are not accessing content on other brands in the same niche.

This is where an information streaming platform can help. A reader may have a passion which they support by reading a particular magazine, making them impossible to reach on the newsstand or through the site of another title. However, inside an information streaming service, they will be exposed to other titles in that genre. This provides access to readers a publisher would never have received otherwise and provides extra revenue they could never have made on their own.

The obvious concern a publisher would have here is that this could cannibalise their readership, allowing loyal customers to be tempted to switch brand allegiance to a rival title they may not have otherwise started reading. They may also fear that readers will drop their subscription to a title if they can access it through an information streaming service.

However, that is not our experience. To the contrary, we have found our service only adds to audiences. Our most avid readers will check out around 26 issues per month but, on average, our readers explore six different categories each month.

In a way, it is a little like going to the cinema to watch a blockbuster. People will do this and enjoy a night out with that one title in mind. However, when they are flicking through the listings on their TV or streaming provider, they are just as likely to engage again with the content which they have likely discovered because it was collated alongside a bunch of ‘thriller’ ‘drama’ or ‘comedy’ offerings.

Trust in good journalism

It is not only publishers who face challenges. Readers need a safe harbour where they can trust the content they see and then decide which articles they would like to read now, which they want to save for later and which titles they might want to go more in-depth with. This can prompt customers to buy the print version of a magazine as well as subscribe to it online for extra content and benefits.

This trusted marketplace is needed because of publishing’s elephant in the room that can no longer be ignored. It is a sad fact that we are in the middle of a media storm where there is so much online content screaming for attention. Yet, at the same time, the shift to digital has seen falling revenues and a loss of one in four full-time journalism jobs since 2007, according to the UK government.

It will come as little surprise, then, that as revenue is challenged and the market is saturated by content, quality and veracity are not always guaranteed. This has had a knock-on effect for readers. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019, 70% of Britons are concerned about misinformation.

Trusted partners

A responsible information streaming service, then, is a true partner of a publisher, providing a safe place for their content to be discovered by a wider audience. Information streaming platforms are dedicated to showcasing a publisher’s content in its best light and that not only involves great design, it requires a business to dedicate itself to constantly improving the technology required to give readers the best possible experience.

A publisher will only ever get a personalised, technology-driven approach to showcasing their content beyond their site through a trusted third party. A trusted partner can provide a safe place for content to be discovered and grow a publisher’s audience through a service dedicated to sharing revenue.

That is why publishers are growing to trust information streaming services as a viable alternative to third party, so-called partners who have taken their content in the past but offered little in return.

Ari Assuied, President & co-founder of Cafeyn

About: Entrepreneur and technology enthusiast, Ari co-founded LeKiosk, rebranded Cafeyn, in 2006. As a passionate fan of the media ecosystem and with a wealth of experience, Ari has grown Cafeyn into a successful international information streaming company, providing a high-performance platform for consumers to access to the broadest range of trusted news and information on the device of their choice.

Ari currently divides his time between London and Paris, two capital cities which enable him to showcase the company across Europe.

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