The publishing industry has reinvented itself to adapt to the pervasiveness of the Internet and the possibilities it offers for easier and faster delivery of content. In the publishing arena, content/assets are considered a resource that can be reutilized or repurposed to earn additional revenue. What do these assets look like? For publishers and content creators, it is quite simple. It’s the content that they churn out year-on-year. Content could be text, images, graphs, videos, and so on. Content monetization is the right way forward. By having a precise strategy, publishers can hope to have a greater return on investment with having assets that were sitting idle and transforming them into revenue drivers.
How have other industries fared by repurposing their content? Newspapers have gone the digital route by instituting a pay wall. FT.com has erected a stricter pay wall where content is only available to registered users and subscribers. Paid subscribers get access to unlimited content and more online tools such as ePaper, mobile and iPad access. For magazine publishers, digital subscription options are available to consumers, and single issues have turned out to be a good way of selling back copies of magazines, which has been cumbersome to do in print. Hearst Magazines sells digital editions of lots of its brands, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Popular Mechanics, on the iPad. Thirty percent of its single copies sold on tablets are back issues. These are some prime examples of digital asset monetization. This adds to the maxim that is relevant throughout the entire publishing industry, which is content is king. So, what are traditional publishers doing to monetize their content?
In the past, content providers were taking advantage of digital delivery and print-on-demand options to monetize their backlists more efficiently. By utilizing third parties or publishing service providers, they could warehouse all their old assets and repurpose them for a better return on investment. Most service providers will provide additional services such as fair use analysis, domestic and international rights permissions, and ensuring that publishers do not suffer from legal consequences. Furthermore, customized platforms can be created so that publishers can have efficient databases at their disposal and keep track of all their assets and make for a smart strategy that ensures the monetization of copyrighted assets.
Some education publishers are getting in on the action by repurposing their old content into specialized e-commerce-type platforms that enable target audiences to enter and buy content without any form of red tape. This is an important point. Institutions that need specialized content such as tables, graphs, or images for research and development, marketing research, or other forms of specialized study would have to go through specific organizations. Because of the bureaucratic nature of some of these established centers, it may take months to secure the rights and permissions of these protected assets. With each line of text, additional permissions may be required. By creating a customized platform that provides instant access and works as a smart e-commerce portal, educational institutions will be able to benefit from choosing content that meets their needs.
Asset monetization will provide sustenance for publishers in the future. More and more traditional publishers are facing enduring competition in the digital age. Educational publishers are feeling the effects as some publishers have turned to subscription models and provide unlimited content to students and others. Through content monetization, publishers will be able to distribute their content to niche audiences, engage with new ones, and create new offerings in the process.