Digital Innovation Digital Publishing
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The new publishing mantra: Adapt and diversify

“Free and unencumbered by normal constraints, everyone’s realised you’ve got to double down and try new stuff as we’re in extraordinary times.”

Those words from UK-based Immediate Media’s CRO Duncan Tickell provide an excellent attitude for magazine publishers in early 2021. 

According to Meg Carter writing in InPublishing, Tickell says the future looks bright because his company has been doing just that — doubling down and trying new stuff. And they are seeing good things happen as a result, especially in direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue.

“We’re fortunate we have brands that have played out well in the pandemic — gardening, cooking and entertainment titles covering all things people have been doing at home — so we’ve seen incredible growth, and we’ve worked hard to find new ways to serve our consumers,” Tickell said.

That service comes in the form of diversified content streams like webinars on gardening and sourdough bread, passion-based content that Tickell believes add real value to the customer experience. And while newsstand sales and subscriptions are important, it’s not enough for Immediate Media’s purposes. 

“… now, as the revenue mix tips towards digital, we are looking at diversifying our digital businesses and accelerating our digital growth,” said Tickell. “Part of that means the traditional ad-funded model. Increasingly, it means DTC – revenue streams that are now gaining real traction.”

He’s certainly not alone in that opinion. Diversification and a clear editorial mandate seem to be the differentiator between magazine media brands that are coping well with the current climate, and those that are struggling. The underpinning of a solid diversification strategy starts with a deep understanding of your readers. This is where resilience starts, a must-have in a changing world. 

“The most valuable members of a publisher’s audience are those with the deepest relationships with its brands,” Carter writes. “This makes subscribers ‘the absolute peak’ — an incredibly valuable audience to commercialise but also, at the same time, to protect.”

“What excites me most about the future of publishing is how diverse it is now and how quickly it changes — you can never stand still,” Tickell said. “Our brands have diversified in ways we never thought possible. The pace of change is so fast, and that’s exciting. You don’t know what’s around the corner. But as we are proving, opportunity is there — it’s just more complex.”

As magazine media brands move from gap fillers to premium niche content providers, publishers can stop competing so much with each other and instead compete with other media channels. As content creating machines, magazine brands like Immediate Media are perfectly poised for DTC success.

David Pilcher
VP of Sales & Marketing, Freeport Press

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