Report from Distripress: Print Distributors’ Participate in Digital Distribution
Getting print distributors involved in digital.
U.S. newsstand distributors, unlike our printers and subscription agencies, have very little to do with the ongoing transition of publishers to a primarily digital environment.
From an international perspective, the distributor has an important role to play in that transition, according to Anne-Marie Couderc, president of French national distributor Presstalis. At Distripress 2014, the international conference of the magazine press, held in Cannes in the last week of September, Couderc provided her vision of the print and digital future. Print and digital must complement one another, and print distributors have an important role to play in that relationship.
It begins with the optimization of services already provided, she says, which includes managing complex logistics, data and financial flows. Distributors also have a role in the global distribution of both print and digital products.
Presstalis is responsible for 80 percent of print distribution. The five trends she flagged in the French market reflect those in the North America:
1. The collapse of newsstand sales
2. The collapse of multi media products
3. The crisis in ad sales
4. The strain on the retail market as a channel of sale
5. Changes in consumer habits
In France, as here, magazine sales down, and the Internet is seen as a major driver of the trend.
Couderc says publishers and distributors need to rethink their businesses in response. Steps would include changing the publisher economic model, rethinking the publishing landscape and redefining roles. Realistically, sales will continue to fall, publishers will capitalize on their core brands through their digital divisions, and the economic model of digital still needs to be defined.
So what can the distributor do to participate? Presstalis suggests using digital to boost print media sales on the newsstand and offering digital services to publishers. The company also works with publishers to design and distribute digital applications; it collects information on pricing and promotions and offers it to publishers; and it offers a digital-to-store application. The role of the distributor includes working with their suppliers to pool resources and means, and to provide a cross-media research unit for print, media campaigns and online buzz.
Presstalis’ has introduced a popular app, Zeens, which customizes magazine offerings and provides push notifications based on the interests of the customers and available updates by magazine category. To date, 80,000 people have downloaded the app.
In this partnership model, the publishers’ role is to make a digital offering a part of all their editorial content, by creating robust brands in print and digital, and by promoting across all networks. The distributor participates by managing across both print and digital platforms, expanding applications from mobile to store, and stimulating both physical and virtual networks.
From the perspective of this print distributor, digital is no longer a threat to the print publisher. It is a key to success.