Michael Biggerstaff: NXTbook Media
CEO | NXTbook Media
WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON MAGAZINE PUBLISHING FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
This is an exciting time for magazine publishing. Traditional print media is learning to coexist with online products. The online world is allowing publishers to leverage themselves with totally new and different audiences. We’ve seen brands really succeed with this medium and more will follow their lead.
WHAT ARE THE THREE CRUCIAL ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR SEGMENT OF THE BUSINESS IN 2007?
Because digital publishing is still a relatively new industry but also a rapidly changing industry, there’s a need to provide publishers with constant education of this ever-changing technology. This education must also take place in the media. We see the media covering new vendors in the space, but many of these solutions aren’t really “new” at all. Instead, they’re solutions that those of us on the cutting edge had on the market two or three years ago.
We’re also keeping a very close eye on social media. Simply put, if your content is good, it’s vital to find a way to allow people to share it online. Doing so translates to increased readership at a fraction of the cost. We’ve done a lot to make our product more social-media friendly and we’ll continue to do even more in the coming year.
Finally, with Microsoft, Google and Yahoo all poised to add RSS readers to their products, we’re expecting 2007 to be the year of massive RSS adoption. For that reason, we’ve put together an attractive RSS offering so publishers can leverage this market in a new and exciting way.
HOW MUST PUBLISHERS ADAPT IN THE COMING YEAR?
In a word, constantly. The readers and advertisers of digital editions
are driving the technology initiatives. It is my belief that publishers with a solid digital plan, properly executed with the proper involvement of their customers will build a big lead over their competitors that are sitting back and waiting to see what happens. Publishers must partner with digital providers that are forward thinking and very nimble.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS?
The biggest challenge publishers face in this rapidly changing economy is the threat of extinction if we don’t adapt or if we embrace solutions that aren’t nimble enough to adapt when users or the market changes. Because, inevitably, both users and markets will change. Publishers need digital partners that are leading the change, not chasing it.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH?
The greatest opportunity is to build a solid brand and let your customers be part of your digital strategy. When you let readers actively participate in your products, the advertising boon associated with that will be tremendous. We see social media in all parts of our lives. It says to us all every day, “I have something important to say, let me be involved and provide a vehicle to share content with everyone.” Advertisers readily pay for direct connections to loyal customers in a field. Why not create that in your marketplace?
Another great opportunity on the revenue side is RSS. RSS provides publishers with a pre-selected opt-in audience and a wealth of sponsorship opportunities. We see a strong flow of wealth to this channel in the next 12 to 24 months.