Digital Directions: The Top 10 Ways to Kill Your Publishing Business
The world of content is in the midst of a nearly perfect storm:
- Changes in the media landscape brought about by digital technologies and customer behavior are driving fundamental changes in how we acquire, produce and sell content.
- The global financial crisis makes funding new capital initiatives required to address digital media much more difficult.
- A downturn in the advertising market is raising havoc with revenue projections.
Decisions are required, but missteps are costly. These are not “bet your job” decisions. They are “bet your company” decisions.
Many of these critical decisions pertain to the digital realm. Here are the top 10 ways to kill your business by making the wrong choices in digital strategy:
1. Apply the full cost of a delivery program to the profit & loss (P&L) statement of the first product to use it.
A digital-product initiative may require a content management or e-commerce platform. Or it might require a new role for the organization, such as customer support. If so, apply the full cost of these new capabilities to the initial product to require it. Why have pesky capital expense charges lingering on your balance sheet for years? If this capability is truly required, then the initial product’s revenue should be able to cover it. If this product fails to meet gross margin targets, write it off. If it does meet GM targets, then subsequent products can benefit from the new capability.
2. Apply all revenue to physical product.
A great way to drive print sales is to bundle the e-book with the physical book. If an e-book program drives incremental revenue, apply all revenue to physical book sales. Your year-over-year unit sales will show growth. Apply any e-book preparation costs as a marketing expense.
3. No matter how much writers and editors protest, force everyone to use a common editorial application and workflow in order to “go XML.”
Sure, they have all become accustomed to tried-and-true applications such as Microsoft Word, and have become increasingly efficient over the years in using these tools. But the only way a publishing organization can move forward in creating structured XML content is to jettison all current tools for a new application that revolutionizes publishing. Ignore the moans of protest; it is for their own good. Right?