Thriving As E-content Prices Fall
Last week I wrote about why I believe e-content prices will continue to drop in the future. The feedback I got in a couple of LinkedIn groups and via email was mixed. Some readers agreed and others seemed to think it was the craziest thing they ever heard.
Regardless of where you stand on this, there are a number of things you can do to prepare...just in case I'm right. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Sponsorship - Why force the consumer to pay the full price of your content? Think about a multi-pronged revenue strategy instead, where a sponsor pays part of the price. The end result is an ebook, newspaper or magazine that features a "Brought to you by 'xyz'" banner somewhere on the cover and probably includes a sponsorship message and maybe even an offer for the sponsor's products/services inside. You first need to think of which prospective sponsors might be interested in an affiliation with your content. Are they looking to get their name next to your brand? Do they want to include a message to your audience? Whatever the reason, identify a short list of sponsor prospects and start the discussion. Be sure to think long-term, not just one title or a single day's/month's edition. And be creative: Rather than just asking the sponsor for a fixed fee, can you get a cut of the revenue generated by the leads you're providing them?
Premium+exclusive+direct - This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite concepts. Book publishers in particular are seeing their prices pushed downward by Amazon's desire to give customers the best deal possible. There's nothing wrong with that, till it starts to cheapen your brand. You can try to go direct at a higher price but what consumer wants to pay more when they can get the same product from Amazon for less? That's why you have to think about creating premium versions of your products that are available exclusively on your site. What value can you add to your standard products and how can you deliver those only on your website, in a B2C manner. Yes, it means investing more in that premium content, but if it helps preserve your price point and enables a direct relationship with your customer it's definitely a model worth building.
Bundles and partnerships - What are some of the adjacent businesses and products that complement your offerings? How can you bring them together to create a bundle consumers can't resist? And are some of those companies looking to extend their reach, particularly into your customer base? If so, they'll have an incentive to discount their product in order to partner with you.
Despite the grim outlook of declining prices there are still new business models to be invented. The beauty of this is that these three options are not mutually exclusive; they can all co-exist with your existing channels and pricing models as well.
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.