Imagine bundling your publication’s content with that of your competitor’s. That was one interesting theory explored at the MPA Digital: Swipe conference on tablets, e-readers and smartphones. Panelists speaking on the digital newsstand debated several best practices that publishers should be following.

"None of us are interested in scooping the newsstand,” said Jeanniey Mullen, global executive vice president and chief marketing officer for digital newsstand provider Zinio, to the audience of about 350. “But, if you can align content by category, by taking something simple and controversial—like the presidential election—you can group readers around passion and have a better opportunity to expose a brand globally.”

Mullen says that by giving readers an opportunity to buy a grouping of related articles—in a sense creating a portfolio of similar content—readers will be hyper engaged, and discover magazines they might have never considered.

“We’re still at an early point,” she said. “Consumer trends are changing every 6-9 months.”

Since the landscape is continuously changing, Mullen noted, there is not at this point a “winner-take-all strategy.” While the reader and their preferred platform remain a moving target, Mullen says, one new strategy for publishers looking to have individuals consume and discover digital periodicals consists of innovative ways to bundle content.

One thing the panelist said to be wary of when executing a digital content strategy is reader preferences—she says a difference does exist per device in terms of the price point a consumer is willing to pay for content, the number of items bought per device and location of consumer reading.

“It’s a complex problem when you talk devices,” she said. “Do you target to the device or to the buyer? It’s part of an innovative discussion.”

Since the landscape is changing, however, Mullen says there are some initial dangers surrounding even the brightest of innovations.

“When you have to do fulfillment house integration [with digital periodicals], it delays things as far as innovation, cross publishing, upselling, interactive and non-interactive bundles, though it does vary on a publisher by publisher basis,” she says. “Things need to come back to a simplistic model down the road, but I don’t think we’ve figured that out yet.”

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