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All of a sudden, I was seeing subscription services everywhere. I started paying attention to the advertisements on my podcasts for Dollar Shave Club. I decided to take Groupon up on an offer for a subscription to the Sunday edition of The Hartford Courant. And because of my new interest in this particular business model, Google and Facebook started serving me ads for more subscriptions that I didn't know existed. As I thought about what seems to be a subscription renaissance, I found myself wondering why so many newspapers seem to be having difficulty with that old subscription model while other companies seem to be blossoming under it.
Posted May 22, 2014
Commerce is a race. Hopefully, a race to the top, but for some, it's a race to the bottom. Seth Godin has written about the race to the bottom multiple times. He states that "the problem with the race to the bottom is sometimes you might win." And he doesn't mean that as a good thing. "Someone," he says, "will always find a way to be cheaper or more brutal than you to win. You might make a few more bucks for now, but not for long and not with pride." Profound words from a smart marketer.
Posted May 20, 2014
Performance marketing company Matomy Media Group announced the launch of its video advertising and content monetization service, Matomy Video. The service is being launched in partnership with Vidible, a multi-device exchange for distributing and discovering content.
Posted Apr 29, 2014
Rightscorp, a provider of monetization services for artists and holders of copyrighted Intellectual Property (IP), announced that it plans to expand its copyright monetization services into the consumer book publishing market. Rightscorp will soon represent authors and publishing companies by monitoring and monetizing their digital assets against copyright infringement and illegal downloading.
Posted Apr 15, 2014
Pivotshare is a new platform combines the functionality of eBay and YouTube to create an online marketplace for the sale and purchase of online video content worldwide. Pivotshare is a complete self-service solution for media publishers. Anyone can monetize content on their own branded online channel or on their own website using pay-per-view rentals, subscription access, downloads and/ or tips in any combination.
Posted Mar 13, 2014
From content as destination to content as sales support, the state of content commerce is shifting as content providers continue to look for ways to monetize their offerings. In a digital environment where content drives engagement, there are certainly opportunities for content providers to benefit, but the opportunities are vastly different than they have been in the past.
Posted Feb 05, 2014
Pytch, built upon a $40 million mobile commerce business established by ClickBank, debuted its new monetization service for app developers and advertisers. The monetization service features new ad-serving technologies that serve contextual ads in apps. Pytch also provides online businesses that advertise through the service with site and secure payment optimization tools for mobile.
Posted Jan 16, 2014
Selling ebooks the old fashioned way-offering a fixed price for one digital tome that the reader owns for eternity-is the tried-and-true approach most publishers take. But just as some consumers prefer to lease a car, prepay for a set amount of mobile minutes, or sign up for movies streamed monthly, there is a niche audience that's interested in an unconventional approach to the conventional acquisition of electronic books-and an array of providers capable of catering to this demand.
Posted Jan 02, 2014
Loop, a smartphone-enabled commerce solution accepted at more than 50 million point-of-sale terminals worldwide, announced it has secured more than $10 million in funding and will start shipping its mobile app and its first AppCessory, the Loop Fob, to its Kickstarter backers this month.
Posted Dec 17, 2013
As has been the custom in this column since before I went gray, we end the year and our EContent 100 issue with a peek into the revenue-generating models that will dominate the coming year. Content is faced with an acute problem: The advertising support on which it counted is veering noticeably into marketing budgets and especially their own content projects. This has been a long time coming (a decade, in fact), but only now are we seeing publishers panic enough to commit to some radically different models or take the ones that have been out there for a while more seriously. A din of good and bad ideas rather than a clear direction is what we will get in 2014.
Posted Dec 13, 2013
It used to be really hard to create good content. Twenty-five years ago if you wanted photos of your product it was a chore. As a kid I remember watching the process in my dad's advertising agency in Knoxville, TN. First you needed several thousands of dollars of professional camera equipment and lighting. Then you would gather all the products and shoot endless rolls of film, which you would then ship off to be developed and wait weeks for the actual shots. It was tedious at best and even then you would wind up editing things in a dark room. It would take me hours to resize clip art with a photostat machine that now takes seconds and requires a click and drag with my pointer. In 2013 if you are a major brand and you want a killer photo of your product, it takes one step: Search.
Posted Nov 21, 2013
If you doubted Andrew Sullivan's decision to leave the Daily Beast and make The Dish a reader-supported venture, you may be eating your words. Having raised over $800,000, Sullivan launched a subscription only magazine called Deep Dish. As of Monday, November 18, 2013, readers can subscribe to the monthly magazinewhich features long-form journalism.
Posted Nov 19, 2013
Ebyline.com, a platform that links brands and publishers with experienced freelance journalists, announced the release of Ebyline Payments for WordPress, a plugin for the popular publishing platform that allows anyone to pay their blog contributors or editors with the click of a button.
Posted Nov 19, 2013
Amazon.com introduced Amazon Source, a new program that enables independent bookstores and other retailers to sell Kindle devices and accessories, and earn money while doing so. In addition to a discount on purchasing Kindles and Kindle accessories for resale, retailers will have the option of receiving 10% of every Kindle book purchased on Kindle devices sold by the bookstore for the first two years after a customer buys a device.
Posted Nov 07, 2013
OwnZones announced the opening of its advertising-free platform for premium niche content. It currently hosts more than 80,000 pieces of video, audio and text media, and will continue to expand its libraries to meet the growing demands for niche content. Users can explore via search or through its seventeen curated topic groups at launch.
Posted Nov 05, 2013
Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, announced a new purchase option - a Usage-Driven Acquisition (UDA) model - for its Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) ebook platform. This new purchase model will allow libraries to purchase ebooks based on actual usage, allowing libraries to perform evidence-based collection development. GVRL delivers reference content and series non-fiction titles to all types of libraries.
Posted Oct 31, 2013
Accenture announced that it has built and will operate an end-to-end e-commerce and direct to consumer distribution solution for HarperCollins Publishers ebooks globally. The project will commence with the launch of HarperCollins' CSLewis.com and Narnia.com.
Posted Oct 31, 2013
Traditionally, publishers were limited in pursuing two time-tested avenues to revenue: selling subscriptions and/or advertising. But lately, content commerce strategies like in-text advertising and sponsored content have come of age, providing the potential to change the digital content dynamic and excite publishers that are struggling to remain relevant to readers and users.
Posted Oct 30, 2013
The New York Times is using the newsstand to reach digital subscribers, according to gigaom. If you buy the Sunday, Nov. 3 issue of the times at a newsstand or a Starbuck you'll get a four week trial digital subscription. Readers will find a sticker on the inside with a code to gain access via the web and smartphones-though the tablet editions are off limit.
Posted Oct 24, 2013
With his recent acquisition of the Washington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos believes he can persuade readers to pony up for a daily bundle of news on a tablet, similar to traditional print bundles. "People will buy a package. They will not pay for a story," Bezos said recently during a meeting with editors and reporters. If his plan works, it could serve as a viable business strategy for other digital publishers going forward-especially if paywalls aren't working and if those news bundles are personalized for readers, say the experts.
Posted Oct 16, 2013
Many of you are probably surprised that Instagram doesn't already have ads (especially after Facebook acquired it), but it's true: thus far, your photos of food and dogs have not been monetized. That is all changing, according to a blog post from Instagram.
Posted Oct 08, 2013
The Dallas Morning News announced it is discontinuing its paywall and creating a premium digital experience for subscribers. The paywall was instituted in the first quarter of 2011. Beginning Oct. 1, content from the Morning News will be accessible to everyone, free of charge.
Posted Oct 01, 2013
Mobile advertising is on the rise-who do you know who doesn't have a smart phone these days? In fact, according to the Pew Internet Project's research on mobile technology, 91% of American adults have a cell phone-56% have a smartphone. That level of penetration presents both opportunities and challenges to content providers hoping not only to connect with their audiences, but also to monetize those interactions in some way.
Posted Sep 27, 2013
ActionX introduced the first mobile commerce platform that connects the dots between mobile customer acquisition and mobile retargeting. In addition, the company closed a venture funding round, bringing the total raised to $5 million, led by SoftBank Capital, Verizon Investments, Lerer Ventures, AOL Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, and select angels.
Posted Sep 16, 2013
A print subscription to People will no longer get you free web access, according to paidContent. The magazine launched new digital products - including one that costs $200 a year -- and though it has bundled digital access with print subscription in the past, new subscribers won't get that same perk. For $112 a year you can get a print subscriptions or the People Digital Plus package (which includes digital and tablet access as well as access to the CelebWatch and CelebFood apps). For $20 more you can add a print subscription to the Digital Plus package.
Posted Sep 10, 2013