7 Predictions for Publishing in 2019

Paul Herron Thursday, 07 February 2019

What You’ll Learn:

Paul Herron, VP, Publishing, North America, gives his top predictions for the Publishing industry in 2019, including subscriptions, paid advertising, audio content and the rise in bundled products.

1. Publishers Will Prioritize Subscriptions in Favor of Advertising

According to Digital News Project, subscriptions are the most important revenue focus for the majority (52%) of publishers in 2019, vastly outweighing display advertising (27%) and native advertising (8%).

“[A] subscriptions [model] is the key strategy, so the investment in driving subscriptions will be critical in 2019 and probably 2020 to create a sustainable news business.”

Sergio Rodríguez, Digital Editor-in-Chief, La Razón

For many publishers, prioritizing non-advertising growth will involve leveraging new skills in-house and producing higher quality content that is worth subscribers’ investment.

2. …But Display Advertising Remains Essential

The Q3 2018 Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI), from the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) and Deloitte, reveals that in the last year, digital publishing revenues in the UK increased by 5.3%.

The report also shows that display formats and subscriptions continued to drive digital publishing growth, up by 9.1% and 7.2% respectively on a 12-month basis from October 2017 to September 2018.

“The continued increase in digital publishing revenues is extremely encouraging, as display advertising and subscription revenue lead the way to drive growth for the industry. And with many publishers actively focussed on growing non-advertising revenue streams, the industry has many interesting areas of innovation.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director, AOP

“Display and subscriptions continue to provide an uplift to digital publishing revenues, and there is certainly a lot for the industry to feel positive about. Plans for new products and services will only continue to fuel this consumption and, coupled with a focus on non-advertising revenues, we hope to see online publishers’ confidence recover.”

Dan Ison, Lead Partner, Media and Entertainment, Deloitte

3. Publishers Will Drive New Revenue Streams with Bundles

During 2018 and in 2019, publishers are looking at ways to enhance the value of existing subscriptions as a way of reducing churn and remaining competitive in an increasingly saturated market.

For example:

  • The Times of London has added a one-year Wall Street Journal subscription for existing subscribers
  • Telecom and OTT video providers have begun to experiment with adding news to their bundles
  • Amazon Prime membership in the US now comes with a 6-month free trial of the Washington Post and reduced ongoing subscription cost.

What’s more, there are whispers that Apple may use their recently acquired app, Texture – often described as a ‘Netflix for news’ – to bundle news, music and its new TV investments into a powerful alternative to Amazon Prime.

Ultimately, the focus for 2019 is to create and launch print and digital bundles quickly and easily from a single platform, to provide more opportunities to drive revenue in new and different ways, save time and money, reduce operational and capital expenditure and increase speed-to-market.

4. More Co-Operation Between News Organizations to Share Technology

Collaboration between traditionally competitive news organizations could rise as 2019 progresses.

A survey from Digital News Project shows strong support for this, with over two-thirds of publishers acknowledging the value to be gained from shared advertising (71%) and technology (69%) solutions.

“Broadly, I think publishers should look to a model where we share technology which solves our common issues and then use our journalism to differentiate our output.”

Anonymous UK Publisher

5. Print is Alive! The Debate Will Settle in Favor of Print

Globally, print still accounts for over 90% of total publishing revenues. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any doubt for publishers that print is very much alive and well in 2019.

 “Unfortunately, even newspaper industry insiders tend to forget that print is the mainstay of the business. It is therefore important to keep the performance of the printed newspaper in mind. Print is strong in terms of reach, reading time and reading intensity – or engagement – as well as sustainability.”

Manfred Werfel, Deputy CEO, WAN-IFRA

As discussed in a previous blog, Print Is Alive: How Bundled Digital & Print Subscriptions Have Rejuvenated the Publishing Industry, there remains a firm place in the market for print. Data suggests that readership and engagement for print is just as robust as digital, and publishers can continue to boost their growing digital reader revenues in 2019 with complementary print and digital subscription strategies.

6. Payment Options Continue to Diversify, eWallets Grow

The Washington Post has reported that 70% of people believe that mobile payments will overtake both cash and cards by 2030.

Mobile payments – or digital wallets, as they’re also known – include the likes of Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal. The core benefit is that they provide a safe way for users to securely store sensitive credit card information online, improving user experience by seamlessly integrating with online accounts.

Customers demand a frictionless checkout experience and digital wallets alone can account for as much as three-fold conversion increases in online carts. To stay competitive in 2019, publishers must prioritize enhancements to the ways and means customers are able to pay for content.

7. Audio Becomes Essential to Successful Content Strategies

Driven by the growing popularity of podcasts and increased audio device sales, audio is set to be one of the hottest topics for all organizations in the media and entertainment industry this year.

According to a survey from Digital News Project, three-quarters of respondents (75%) say that audio is becoming a more important part of content and commercial strategies. Many publishers are even building bespoke audio production units to tackle this increasingly popular content medium.

The Daily from the New York Times now has over five million listeners a month, and The Guardian (Today in Focus) and Washington Post (Post Reports) have also invested heavily in podcasting.

The vast majority (78%) also think that voice-activated technologies (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant) will transform the way audiences discover and interact with media in 2019 and beyond. Considering up to 40 million people in the United States and around 7 million people in the UK own smart speakers, it makes good sense for publishers to tap into this growing market.


Get Equipped for 2019 With Physical Subscriptions in eSuite

With the launch our recent pivotal product update, MPP Global’s eSuite is now the world’s only media-centric print and digital subscription management platform in the cloud.

New functionality, borne out of the requirements of today’s publishing industry, positions our clients to transform their business operations with a digital-first focus, whilst accelerating revenue and optimizing billing for existing print subscribers.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Save Time & Cost with a Centralized Platform to Manage ALL Subscribers & Billing – Increase efficiencies, reduce cost of ownership and reallocate technical resource by managing all your digital and print subscribers in a single platform.
  • Drive New Revenue Streams with Pre-Defined and Personalized Bundles – Enable subscribers to use cart functionality to create customized bundles, providing choice and engagement options to suit all demographics and user segments.
  • Empower Customers with Configurable Delivery Calendars – Put the customer at the heart of how, when and where they receive content with Delivery Calendars.
  • Grant Fulfillments and Entitlements on Time and Issue-Based Schedules – Configure Issue Schedules against products and bundles to determine when a product fulfillment or content entitlement is available to your subscribers.
  • Reduce Support Costs with Customer Self-Care – Take some of the operational weight off your shoulders by putting the customer in the driving seat to perform common actions.
  • Globally Test New Business Models with Speed and Agility – Get your products to market and manage subscribers in any currency, country and payment type and in a localized language.

These features and benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. To experience all that eSuite’s innovative update has to offer, download the fact sheet here or request a demo below.

Request a Demo of eSuite Physical Subscriptions