Publishing during a pandemic: Finding new revenue streams

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By FIPP: The Network for Global Media

As COVID-19 changes consumer behaviour, publishers have to go where the money is.

With COVID-19 turning some revenue streams like ad sales and events into a trickle, publishers have been forced to reassess what the best ways are to fund their operations in the future. From ecommerce and paywalls to podcasts, there are several promising avenues to explore on the road to recovery.

“As always, the most important thing publishers can do post-COVID is make sure they understand and serve the needs of their audiences,” advises Peter Houston, founder of Flipping Pages Media and one of the writers of the Media Moments 2020 report, recently released by Media Voices Podcast. “Whether that’s niche podcasts or ecommerce, newsletters or virtual events, publishers have to respond to how the pandemic has reshaped audience behaviours.

“And that’s not all about digital innovation. No one would have predicted the size of the spike in print subscriptions during lockdown, but now that it’s happened, magazine publishers need to work really hard to keep and deepen the relationship with readers that turned to them during one some of the hardest times in recent memory. The prize will be a proper cross-platform engagement with audiences.

“Publishers need to find their perfect revenue mix, five or six income streams complementary to their core competencies.”

Publishers offer trust and brand safety, which – dare I say it – has slightly gone out of fashion in recent years.

James Wildman, Hearst

Take it as read

One of the biggest lessons to come out of the pandemic is the importance of reader revenue. As consumers were hit with waves of data and scientific information, they clung to trusted news sources like a life raft – happily reaching into their pocket to pay for quality content.

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