The phrase content monetization is being used more and more frequently, but it is hard to find a definition or detailed description of what it means.
So, I thought I would give it a go.
First I should define what I include ‘online content’ in the context of online content monetization?
I define it as anything that can be digitized and delivered from the creator to the consumer over the Internet. This includes text, images, music, video and software.
Many traditional industries, including book, newspaper and magazine publishers; record labels and artists; video training companies and software businesses are moving their content online. For those that understand this new medium there are huge benefits. The web speeds up development, reaches a global audience and most importantly strips out costs. For example, the cost of a typical book includes paying for design, typesetting, printing, agent fees, publisher charges, wholesaler margin, retailer margin and distribution. On the Internet a writer can format his own document and access global market with a zero cost for distribution.
Monetization describes the process of generating revenue from online content.
Usually content owners and publishers (such as bloggers) focus on a single revenue stream – often advertising, download sales or paid subscriptions.
However, the most successful online publishers drive multiple revenue streams from their content. This is a lesson learned from the successful print magazines and newspapers. If you look take a look at a good magazine it will make money from:
- The cover price from newsstand sales
- Display ads
- Classified ads
- Supplier directory listings
- Shared revenue deals
- Book and product sales
- Cross-selling of other titles
- Event promotion and ticket sales
All of these revenue streams can be replicated on the Internet, along with many more. At the last count I listed over fifty revenue streams which content publishers can use to monetize their online content. They all come under five broad headings:
- Affiliate marketing
- Participation (events, resale rights, etc)
The economic downturn is accelerating the digitization of content and the experimentation with content monetization. Many traditional publishers left the transition too late and have closed down. Others are resorting to the courts and government to protect their content, particularly the music industry. Meanwhile, the more forward looking are working hard to make their websites a profitable and growing part of their business.
Interweave is a medium sized magazine publisher who have embraced the Internet. They have started the process of successfully monetizing their content online, while continuing to promote their offline business.
Interweave sell advertising on every page and have Google Adsense on article pages
They have a store with hundreds of downloadable ebooks and project plans
They cross sell their other magazines and services
Online content monetization is the fastest growing area of Internet business. In the past there has been a perception that all content on the web should be free. Today a lot of content remains free, but publishers are getting far more streetwise at using content to build audiences which they can then monetize.
Expect the phrase online content monetization to become much more widely used and discussed over the next few years