U.S. Digital Publishers Extend Revenue Streams Abroad

The U.S. publishing industry has shifted to align with the active digital consumer, increasing the sharing of exclusive content online and over mobile devices. This shift has also changed what readers expect from publishers and how they want their information distributed. Bloggers, being born in the digital age, provide great insight into what that is, with multiple daily posts and instant access from anywhere in the world. Big publishing brand names such as Conde Nast, Time Inc. and American Media Inc. have also made strides in digitizing their magazines, even creating interactive blogs of their own to keep pace with reader preferences. Content can now be distributed easier than ever and the only pre-requisite for readers is internet access. But are publishers not thinking big enough? What about the increase in global digital consumers?

U.S. publishers should be focused on is the growth in developing economies and increased mobile device usage. By the end of the year, the number of mobile devices will exceed the number of people on earth, with a large portion being smartphones, according to VNI forecast by Cisco. Most of this growth stems from developing countries who are using digital devices first over traditional desktop computers. As these first-screen users continue to gain access, they will be on the hunt to search for well-crafted digital content. Publishers in the U.S., with their strong brand names and decades of experience, are best positioned to capture these new viewers. Since advertising revenues directly correlate to a publisher’s reader base size, the opportunity in developing markets can’t be ignored. 



Focusing on international markets doesn’t come without its difficulties, with a wide range of languages, devices and content to navigage. Another key area to note is that internationally, the ownership of mobile devices is vastly different than that of the U.S. For example, most U.S. publishers only publish iOS applications, but penetration in Europe for iOS is only 10.3%, while Android is 79.7% and in developing economies such as Brazil it is even less, with 4.6% on iOS and 89.7% on Android (according to a Kantar Worldpanel in July.)Website optimization is simple, but for those that publish mobile apps, digitizing platforms like Mag+ and Adobe DPS can help speed up the process. Content may be the most difficult part but, surprisingly, consumers in developing markets are interested in seeing U.S.-based editorial. To bring in the local aspect, U.S. publishers can leverage smaller, local publishers to start as they begin to build out their own teams.

The ability to navigate these difficulties and optimize for mobile growth can greatly extend a publisher’s revenue stream. Publishers would also be able to work with more global brands for product placement, increasing revenues and supplying content. The other option that some publishers have taken is to license out their brand name to already established publishers. This negates a lot of the issues we covered, but close monitoring is needed and it inhibits future growth. Looking for a few places to focus on first? China, India and Brazil have some of the highest growth rates of online access, discretionary income and mobile usage. The next step is to take the plunge!

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