The Guardian's recent claim that people are indeed willing to pay for news content through the form of a paid-for-news iPhone app is encouraging. It is a sign that publishers are implementing pricing models and strategies that are beyond the TV/broadcasting/online banner era. The Guardian charges £2.39 for its app, which doesn't appear to be hurting its downloads very much. In its first month, the app has been downloaded almost 70,000 times and is number 26 in Apple's UK App Store chart.
Instead of seeking ways to take control over falling CPMs, publishers are finding creative ways to monetize their content and keep up with changing consumer behavior. The quick moves from publishers like Condé Nast, Time Warner, and Bonnier to create concepts for touchscreen tablets is yet another example of how changing technologies are giving publishers new opportunities to increase revenue.
It's not just technologically driven, though. Publishers are coming up with ideas that don't necessarily depend on the latest devices but are nonetheless guided by consumer preferences. 60% of moms who didn't previously use coupons, now say they actively look for deals. In response, Planning Family.com, a leading publisher geared towards moms, began to monetize untapped revenue streams, like its registration path, to offer special deals to its audience. The site was also able to use performance advertising as a way to sell more expensive inventory. By running ads on a Cost-per-Lead basis, Planning Family.com was able to prove that it had the right audience and then up sell CPM placements.
Of course, no one has all of the answers to the struggles of publisher monetization. But The Guardian, Condé Nast, Time Warner, Bonnier, and Planning Family are some great examples of how publishers are thinking outside the idiot box.
What are some other ideas you've seen in action?