The Next Big Thing in Content Subscriptions
Today's sports fan has a seemingly infinite number of resources for news, commentary, and long-form reading. I often use the Bleacher Report for scores, ESPN for short-form articles, and Oyster for books. It's nice having all those options but it can also be very inefficient. Besides having to configure all my favorite team settings in each news service I also have to remember the shortcuts and idiosyncrasies of each of their reader apps.
I'd prefer more of an all-in-one service. I'm talking about something with an all-access pass to every form of content, from tweet streams to up-to-the-minute scores to editorials to full-length books. Think ESPN Insider plus a sports book library; or maybe Oyster's sports library plus the breadth of short-form content in ESPN Insider.
Amazon recently launched Kindle Unlimited, their all-you-can-read service for ebooks. Traditional publishers have been slow to embrace this model, partly because they fear both cannibalization and Amazon. Regardless of whether Amazon succeeds with Kindle Unlimited (they will), the all-you-can-read model is here to stay. It's now just a question of how long it will take before it includes all content forms, short and long, and becomes more vertical, topically-focused.
An all-access model for news, short- and long-form content is more likely to succeed if it's focused on specific content verticals. Sports, business, and religion are three segments that immediately come to mind, but there are plenty of others. And even though traditional publishers will still have their fears, there are plenty of younger, less risk-averse publishing brands emerging that will gladly fill the void and reap the benefits. It's bound to be yet another real world scenario brought to life from the pages of The Innovator's Dilemma.
Joe Wikert is Publishing President at Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com). Before joining OSV Joe was Director of Strategy and Business Development at Olive Software. Prior to Olive Software he was General Manager, Publisher, & Chair of the Tools of Change (TOC) conference at O’Reilly Media, Inc., where he managed each of the editorial groups at O’Reilly as well as the Microsoft Press team and the retail sales organization. Before joining O’Reilly Joe was Vice President and Executive Publisher at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in their P/T division.