Supply Chain Changes: New Publishing ParadigmSeptember 2013 By David Zwang
The transformations in publishing are driving new changes in roles and responsibilities. While many are aware of the technological changes occurring with the introduction and adoption of mobile and tablet publishing, this is only a small part of the changes that lie ahead.
Significant business model changes have already started, driven by technology, resultant workflow changes and expedited by global financial issues. These changes show a move toward expanding the influence of the publication printer's role in the publishing supply chain ecosystem beyond that of being "just a publication printer." Similar to what is happening in the commercial printing space, publication printers are transforming to become publishing support providers.
The changes that are affecting the publication printer are the result of the changes affecting their publisher client base. These changes started with the introduction of the Internet during the 1990s. However, they are further impacted by the introduction of tablet- and mobile-based technology.
In the case of newspapers and magazines, the increase in media channels created significant competition for ad spend, with an edge toward online placement due to the "potential" for greater reach and lower cost of placement. The two recessions occurring in the last 10 years added an additional dynamic, in that overall spend was down across the board. This drove publishers to look for new revenue streams.
Specialty Pubs, Multi-Touch Offerings
As a result of the decline in ad revenues, publishers have been looking for new ways to deliver their content and subscriber base to advertisers and marketers. The creation of targeted, specialty publications has increased, offering a more targeted ad sell to advertisers. Publishers have also started to focus on multi-touch offerings using a combination of print, online and—as of late—tablet distribution. Larger publishers that have other media outlets, like newspapers, TV and radio, are also offering them as a part of their new programs. Additionally, some publishers are now testing the waters with catalog sales in an effort to leverage those relationships. Content monetization is now their main focus.
The publishers' other area of focus is cost reduction. Some of this has already been affected by the dissolution of titles and the reduction of pages. Further reductions occurred through consolidation of production departments, increased automation and overall belt tightening. However, many publishers have also been looking for ways to shed some of their internal systems and processes, and outsource much of the tablet and mobile production.