Why The Publishing Industry Needs New Business Models to Survive In Today’s Climate

By Minute Media


With publishers already facing significant headwinds before the spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that today’s climate is causing further strain on an already taxed industry. The good news is that there has been significant demand for information and content, especially online. A report by technology company Parse.ly discovered that the pandemic has caused online news sites’ content views to climb by 60 percent. However, this surge in supply on the publisher side is not being matched by strong demand in the advertising community, given the macro-impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy, forcing publishers to find ways to radically cut expenses and resources. 


This precarious situation cries out for a technology solution. However, the streamlining of technology and operations and even the maximizing of internal cross-departmental efficiencies have historically been hard to come by. Many publishers have been left to struggle with disjointed tech stacks on the advertising and business operations fronts and more than likely, minimal offerings for the subscription sides of the business. And the high costs associated with new technology-driven integrations are hardly a cost-effective solution for an industry clamoring for efficiency gains.


While some may argue that an over-reliance on technology and social media for readership and traffic has put the industry in jeopardy, there are aspects of technology that can actually help turn the industry around. Just as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has helped enterprise companies make software more accessible, the Publishing-as-a-Service (PaaS) model can help the media industry keep up with the changing landscape and use technology to respond to new challenges. That is why the time is now for publishers to rethink their business models and embrace a more partnership-oriented, perhaps even revenue-sharing, mindset.


The Benefits of a Partnership Mindset and Publishing-as-a-Service

Publishers have no choice but to refocus themselves on certain key areas to thrive during these hard economic times, but the lack of available capital and other resources makes this balance quite challenging. And with most publishers relying on a number of third party software vendors for their operational needs, precious time and resources are quickly exhausted, not to mention the rising number of inefficiencies. In addition, publishers are looking for safe and stable approaches to growing their revenue from trusted partners. But what if publishers were able to use technology to handle all business-related operations, thereby freeing up time and resources to focus more on delivering the high-quality editorial content today’s consumers are craving?  Relying on a strategic partner to provide this cross-functional technology solution can deliver important benefits:


  • Increased efficiencies:  Publishing operating systems provide publishers with a single open platform to create more scalable operations. They are true end-to-end solutions, helping publishers manage the full range of news publishing operations—from ad sales, to subscriptions to content management to community management. Providing this kind of full operating system is more enticing than ever as businesses are asking teams to reduce costs and headcount while increasing ROI. By leaning even further into technology and automation, publishers can become significantly more efficient with less third party investment, one of the biggest hurdles today.


  • More time and manpower for core competencies:  By relying on a strategic partner to fill in the operational and technology gaps, publishers have more time and resources available to invest in their core competencies: content creation. By focusing on these business strengths, publishers are able to maximize team output and quickly evolve their content strategies.


  • Additional opportunities to create engaging content:  As the scarcity of resources continues to wreak havoc, publishers will need to find scalable ways to continue creating engaging and innovative content for end-users. This will require utilizing new tools as well as resurfacing and repurposing existing content in new and creative ways. With less time mired in the operational weeds, publishers will have more brainpower to devote to maximizing content to its fullest.


  • Innovation: With a constant eye to the future, the publishing industry needs to always stay one step ahead of new technology that can enhance both the user and brand experience. But during tough times, focusing on core competencies takes precedent. However, publishing operating systems are built to focus on forward-thinking solutions and to find new ways to grow and expand, especially when publishers themselves are only focused on today, which could lead to huge misses in the future.


With the publishing industry facing significant economic challenges, new business models are more important than ever. Fortunately, there are strategic partners available to lighten the operational load to give publishers the resources they need to do what today’s climate demands: create meaningful and engaging content. The sooner publishers can adopt this partnership mindset, especially with those partners that can bring technology, operational infrastructure and where appropriate, revenue to the table, the better. Despite the threats to the industry, we believe that publishing can be saved, and that the Publishing-as-a-Service model can play an integral role in helping today’s digital publishers not only survive, but thrive.




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