Print Publishing Versus Online Publishing - Update
Online publishing is an extension of traditional newsletter and magazine publishing, but has some very important advantages over print:
- Low cost of delivery at a time when postage and physical distribution costs are rising.
- No typesetting and printing costs. Editors and contributors can add articles and comments directly to the website as they are written.
- Archives of content can easily be made available in a simple, searchable format, adding great value for subscribers. Print publication readers rarely archive old magazines and newsletters, as they are difficult to search, so the value of the information is quickly lost.
- Ability to constantly update and refresh content. No need to be restricted by publication dates. This opens up new areas of content that would previously not been possible, e.g., breaking news, investment advice, etc.
- Online membership administration can be completely automated, avoiding the need for costly manual processing of cheques, standing orders, direct debits, etc.
- Members can interact with each other through online discussion forums; this interaction creates a sense of community and engenders greater loyalty.
- Global reach enables niche subject areas to become commercially viable at little extra cost.
- Content can be provided in multimedia formats, including audio and video. Podcasts are becoming an important way of distributing information.
- Different membership offers can be easily tested, tracked and tweaked.
- The publisher can observe in real-time what areas of the site are most popular and use this market intelligence to continually improve the offering. Print publishers have no idea what articles subscribers read and value.
- A website is always on and always available, regardless of reader location.
- The cost of marketing will be reduced as the search engines start listing a site on the search results pages.
- New members get instant gratification. They can sign up and be reading the very latest information within minutes.
Print publishers will argue that people like paper, but as Rupert Murdoch argues, the benefits of moving online are so overwhelmingly compelling that the shift from print to digital is inevitable.