Should Publishers Refocus on ARPU?

Newspaper and magazine publishers (and other media owners) typically run their businesses based on segmented revenue streams such as circulation, advertising, promotions and so on. The revenue streams often report vertically, ensuring that the focus is on vertical strategies and execution first, and horizontal second. But could it be the right time for publishing businesses to refocus around a central guiding metric such as average revenue per user? Here's five reasons why that might be a good idea:

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On the Decline of Magazines

People love a good a good funeral (and as David Hepworth put it "in the digital age they don't even have to dress for it"). In only the past few days I've read two articles that pronounce the 'death' of marketing (only to then go on to explain how marketing is still very much alive, albeit changing. *Sigh*). So it is not without some disheartenment that I read articles about the troubles of a medium which is close to my heart: magazines.

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The World as We Knew it is Over. Now What?

We are in the midst of a radical revolution. While, some call it the digital revolution it’s much bigger than that. For sure, digital technology is at the foundation of this revolution but it is only the catalyst to the change. Fundamentally, economic value is created from economic inefficiencies. If you were a farmer and owned fertile land it was more economically efficient for you to grow crops than for someone else that lives on a rocky hill. Hence, people buy vegetables from you rather than grow vegetables themselves.

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The Agile Publishing Model

I’m doing research into modern publishing models and how they can affect the way magazine brands distribute content. Although there isn’t a lot of exciting stuff apart from the standard – treat digital as its own publishing channel, I did find this interesting piece from Sourcebooks. They refer to what they are trying to do as The Agile Publishing Model and it is quite new, although actually I think Guy Kawasaki tried to do this with his recent books.

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Will Madison Avenue Become the La Brea Tar Pits of the Ad Industry?

The news that Ladies' Home Journal was turning to crowdsourcing as a way forward was a bit of a shock to me. The first company I started, Sports and Fitness Publishing, was a magazine company. You could say that I have ink in my blood. My Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather were all newspaper publishers. Almost every summer job I had in High School and College was working at the Canton Daily Ledger, my hometown paper.

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Innovation in Publishing: A Short Interview with Jan Van Mol

A number of people these days are exploring new ways of publishing. Seth Godin has launched his Domino Project, Ted is doing Ted Books, and some time ago Alexander Osterwalder had some great ideas on Business Model Generation.

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Officially Launching the First and Only Design Thinking and Innovation Magazine - M/I/S/C. Available in 18 Countries. Now Reviewing Proposals for Foreign Language Editions.

Great launch party last night for M/I/S/C, second launch party in San Francisco in a few weeks... and then Shanghai. 200+ cool people showed up. Food is good... and the cupcakes too. Special thanks to the folks who pulled this off in such a short time...  Ashley, Lucy, Marla, Sherry, Jessica, Christian, Brooke and a few others... great job!

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Closed Publishing Apps? I Don't Get It

Or rather (sadly), perhaps I do.

So The Daily is finally with us. My disclosure right up front is that (since it is not available in the UK) I haven't actually seen it. I applaud bold experimentation of this kind but the written and video reviews of it have left me somewhat underwhelmed. It's a shame. The concept of consuming news and feature driven content via a tablet interface is genuinely exciting.

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Will Agencies Become Publishers?

A few years ago, when I was doing presentations about web 2.0, I had a deck about the democratization of media. It was the usual stuff I like to call "media Marxism" (aka social media): how the means of media production were now in the hands of the proletariat, how content capitalism was giving way to the new order, and a lot of other things I and many other people were discovering at the time.

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About Vampires, Warlocks and Audience Engagement

It was Kevin Kelly who once said that to make a living an artist would only need 1000 fans. After all, if every fan generates $50 of income a year and convinces two or three of his friends to also purchase the occasional book, song or T-shirt the math works.

The corollary of this is that creative artists should stop thinking in terms of big audiences and mass media success.  Instead, they should focus on getting to know and engaging their fans on a virtually individual basis.

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