Digital Directions: Understanding Your Digital Opportunities
Profound, technology-driven changes in the content marketplace have presented publishers with a mandate for transformation, to change the manner in which value is delivered, how it is monetized, and the tools and skills necessary to do so. At present, this is seen most strikingly in the world of print. Seismic events are regularly occurring that herald the dawn of new models of content distribution and the twilight of the old.
The changes necessary to adapt to these new models appear daunting. Such a transformation would involve:
- altering product models and their corresponding revenue dynamics;
- creating new distribution relationships;
- selecting appropriate technologies and service providers; and
- changing organizational capability to create digital content value.
Organizations often respond to a mandate for change in one of two ways. Many respond by metaphorically shutting their eyes. Such a transformation represents to these organizations not only a disruptive change, but one that is beyond the means of available capital. However, as we have seen most recently in the newspaper industry, inaction is not a viable long-run option.
Other organizations—perhaps with extraordinary levels of management commitment or greater access to capital—respond differently. They evoke sweeping changes across their publishing programs. Often delivered by edict, such efforts impose prescriptive standards across all offerings and publishing programs. These standards might include restrictive approaches to editorial workflow, tagging and asset management, distribution, and metrics for success.
While this top-down, prescriptive approach does, in fact, affect change (often accompanied by significant Sturm und Drang), it is often ill-suited to a book publishing organization with a diverse array of publishing programs. Without reflecting the unique requirements of each program, the monolithic approach may fail to find success in the marketplace.
A third way, particularly appropriate for publishers with diverse programs, is to develop digital content initiatives that reflect unique requirements and opportunities for each program. By using a segmentation-based strategy, more relevant approaches to digital content management and distribution will emerge for each program.