Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Day: May 8, 2008

Gilbane San Francisco: We’re on the Air

The recording of the Internet radio broadcast that Bill and I did last week with Scott Draughon is now available for listening and download. Scroll down to May 1 on the past programs page on The broadcast focused on hot topics at Gilbane San Francisco, June 18-20.

One highlight of the show is the segment with Bill Rosenblatt, recognized authority on enterprise rights management and progam lead on Gilbane’s upcoming research on Enterprise Rights Management: Business Imperatives and Implementation Readiness. Bill provided an overview of ERM technology and its use for enterprise content, which will be the focus of a panel in San Francisco. Read more about our upcoming report on ERM adoption. There’s still time to take the survey.

The broadcast also featured a segment with Brad Kain, co-founder and president of Quoin, who’s talking about XML content strategies in San Francisco; a summary of our coverage of enterprise search topics; and a nod to the session on software-as-a-service, with senior executives of some of the leading suppliers of SaaS solutions for content management.

We’ll be doing at least one more Internet radio show prior to Gilbane San Francisco. Please send us an email if there’s a topic of specific interest to you and your colleagues.

New Research Reports and New Report Home

Our Publishing Practice released a new report this week: Digital Magazine and Newspaper Editions – Growth, Trends, and Best Practices. This is an interesting study especially because it is not an area covered much, if at all, by other firms. Bill Rosenblatt, who co-authored the report with Steve Paxhia, blogged about the report yesterday. You can download the report at no charge from our new “Research Reports” page.

The new page will be the place to find a listing of our most current reports and studies. You can also find information there about Beyond Search: What to do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen Arnold, which we released in April (and which is not free – but a great deal!).

We have 5 more reports in the works to be published in the next couple of months, and realized we needed a home for this new series of publications. While you can find most anything on our site with our Google custom search, we have reports going back to 1993, as well as many other types of publications, and thought a new home for current reports would make for a friendlier site.

Digital Editions Market Research

At yesterday’s Argyle Executive Forum Leadership in Media conference in NYC, I had an interesting exchange with John Suhler, founding partner and president of Veronis Suhler Stevenson, and one of the deans of media industry private equity. Suhler had just given a talk in which I was glad to hear him excoriate publishers for the lack of attention they pay to technology and digital media as part of their strategies.

After his talk, I compared figures from our just-released market study on Digital Editions with his own off-the-cuff statistics about digital revenue for publishers, and the results were rather revealing. Our study shows a large gap between the readership penetration of digital editions in consumer vs. B-to-B (vertical) publications – whereas digital B2B subscriptions have grown to 15% of overall subscriptions, the corresponding figure for consumer pubs is down to 1.4%.

Compare these subscription figures with Suhler’s figures for digital revenue: 12-13% in B-to-B vs. 2-3% for consumer publications. This suggests that although digital editions are becoming a much more important ingredient in B-to-B publishers’ product mix, they are not quite carrying their share of digital revenue; whereas in consumer media, they are carrying more than their share, perhaps as much as double their share.

Of course, the missing ingredient in this admittedly superficial comparison is costs. For B-to-B publishers, digital editions can provide revenues at lower costs than fancy websites with lots of interactive features. In another presentation at yesterday’s conference, Andrew Heyward of interactive consultancy Marketspace/Monitor Group showed several examples of elaborate interactive websites that consumer media brands like Sports Illustrated launched in order to engage their audiences. I said to him that although these websites looked very cool, they struck me as very expensive to build, non-scalable (compared to advertising platforms like those of Google or Yahoo), and ephemeral in their appeal. He didn’t disagree.

For consumer publishers, the message in the above statistics could be mixed. In our study, noted publishing technology visionary Peter Meirs of Time Inc. is bearish on digital editions for consumer media. The statistics suggest either that consumer publishers are now taking that pessimism too far and under-investing in digital editions or that they don’t see a great long-term future for them. Comparisons in statistics like the above in future years will determine which of these messages is the correct one.

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