If you were measuring by the size of the headline fonts, 2014 looked as if it were an inflection point for venture capital (VC) investment into the digital content industry. According to Preqin, which tracks data on the investment industry, VC funding in the digital content industry reached $683 million in 2014, more than double the $286 million invested in 2013. A series of discussions with VCs already active in the digital content space revealed a real appetite for further digital content opportunities-provided those companies searching for funds bring with them scalability, engaged users, revenue, and quality.
Posted Jun 22, 2015
What happens when five powerful publishers band together to form a programmatic ad network, allowing advertisers to buy advertising space on The Economist, CNN International, The Guardian, Reuters, and Financial Times? The short answer is Pangaea. A longer answer, or at least longer-term one, is that no one is quite sure yet.
Posted Jun 08, 2015
There are many lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of Gigaom. The thing that struck me, though, was that this seemed to be an argument for ad-supported media. You don't hear many of those these days. We're used to hearing about newspapers and websites shutting down after dwindling ad revenue is not enough to keep them afloat. We see The New York Times and its ilk instating paywalls to help pad the bottom line. Rarely, however, do we hear cautionary tales of companies that dared to experiment with different monetization strategies and lost.
Posted May 26, 2015
A new report from Juniper Research has found that the value of the global digital content market will reach $154 billion annually by 2019, an increase of nearly 60% on 2014. The research, Digital Content Business Models: OTT & Operator Strategies 2015-2019, observed that mobile and online games would account for the largest share of content sales (38% of cumulative revenues), with game formats continuing to transition from physical to digital.
Posted May 05, 2015
After Jay-Z announced his newest venture--a streaming music service called Tidal that he bought a majority stake in for $54 million--with the help of a lot of very famous musicians, there was a bit of a backlash. Meanwhile, Spotify raised $400 million from Goldman Sachs and Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund. And Apple's Beats Music service is pursuing artists for exclusive deals.
Posted Apr 14, 2015
Piano Media, a paywall providers revealed the signing of a new OEM partner agreement with Cxense enabling the company to provide a content recommendation engine to its clients, increasing audience engagement to help publishers convert site users into paying digital subscribers. Piano will integrate several Cxense products with its paywall enabling publishers to better identify, segment, and convert site users.
Posted Apr 09, 2015
IPR License, a rights and licensing trading platform, and Digi-Rights, a provider of automated rights solutions, have announced the launch of a promotional campaign to help greater numbers of US-based self-published authors to showcase and monetize the rights they hold to their works.
Posted Mar 31, 2015
In its quest to dominate your online experience, Facebook has revealed--or, rather, the New York Times has reported--its plans to start hosting media sites' content, rather than simply being a repository for links to outside content. According to the New York Times, the social media giant has been talking to media companies about hosting their content.
Posted Mar 25, 2015
For a while now, I've been asking people the same question over and over: "Why does anyone still pay for a DVR?" At first, the answer probably seems obvious. "A DVR allows me to save my favorite shows to watch later, at my convenience," you say. And that's true. But when you take a closer look, the actual value proposition is not so clear cut.
Posted Mar 24, 2015
Several publishers have come together to form an ad alliance, pooling audiences to combat the like of Google and Facebook, whose massive audiences often draw ad dollars away from content providers. The Economist, CNN, The Guardian, Reuters, and The Financial Times have formed a programmatic ad network in order to pool their audiences and allow advertisers to buy up space across all of these audiences. That audience is about 110 million readers, according to the alliance's website.
Posted Mar 19, 2015
For traditional print media, the digital revolution has been a full-frontal assault on the fundamentals of their editorial and business models. Digitization has been a disaster for most of these companies. So it is noteworthy that one of the oldest magazines in the U.S.--The Atlantic--is among the handful that are truly thriving.
Posted Mar 10, 2015
Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have made it easier than ever to tap into on-demand digital music and online radio. But more convenient consumer access to streaming audio causes a conundrum for artists, content creators, and publishers seeking to be fairly compensated for their efforts.
Posted Mar 09, 2015
When it comes to content, it's all about monetization. Content commerce is a big deal with not only new devices, but also with new payment modalities that are emerging to make the process simple and seamless. When just a single click can complete the transaction, both consumers and marketers benefit.
Posted Jan 28, 2015
FastSpring,an e-commerce solutions for digital products and subscriptions, has announced a new opportunity for both merchants and content experts, with its brand-new Affiliate Program. FastSpring provides an all-in-one e-commerce, merchandising, and fulfillment platform that's designed specifically to meet the needs of software, SaaS, and other online service companies. Its new Affiliate Program will enable participants to grow revenues by signing up either as affiliates or as merchants, gaining significant access to increased sales and customers worldwide.
Posted Jan 20, 2015
Pixbi, a developer of product discovery solutions, announced the launch of its mobile application to empower consumers to discover, scan, and purchase products in print magazines. The mobile application scans products featured in print publications to enable real time purchases while consumers flip through their favorite magazines.
Posted Dec 23, 2014
As the line between editorial and advertorial continues to blur, so does the public's confidence in content from publications versus brands, as evidenced by new industry research that explores this topic-with some unexpected results. A new study by Vibrant shows that only 2% more of consumers trust content from publications (35%) than from brands (33%); and yet, there are more consumers who distrust content from publications (18%) than there are who distrust content from brands (15.5%). Additionally, the number of consumers that distrust content from media titles they know (12%) is double the number who distrust content from brands that they know (6%).
Posted Dec 17, 2014
As is our custom, we end each year of Follow the Money columns anticipating what content monetization trends will drive growth in the coming months. It doesn't seem as if there will be many surprises on this front in 2015 so much as there will be next major stages in models that have already been evolving for publishers. Overshadowing all of it is the unprecedented migration of user attention to devices. "Mobile first" is not a trend or a slogan. It is the reality of modern content.
Posted Dec 03, 2014
A new report from Juniper Research found that mobile phone and tablet users will make 195 billion mobile commerce transactions annually by 2019, up from 72 billion this year. According to the report, Mobile Commerce Markets: Key Sector Strategies, Opportunities & Forecasts 2014-2019, highest growth rates are expected in the NFC sector. Here, usage is expected to be buoyed by the launch of Apple Pay, together with anticipated deployments by banks using solutions based on HCE (Host Card Emulation) technology.
Posted Dec 01, 2014
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wasn't boasting when he told GQ back in January that the company's "goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." This prediction came true in August when Netflix's $1.146 billion subscriber revenue surpassed the cable network's $1.141 billion. Maybe this is why HBO announced on October 15 that it plans to create its own digital VOD service. And it's likely CBS heard about HBO's service, because the very next day CBS declared it too was going to release a subscription service. Only a few days after that on October 28, YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki noted the video site may soon offer an ad-free subscription option. But will consumers actually be willing to throw more money at any of the new services?
Posted Nov 13, 2014
The mobile payments industry has been plagued by false starts and unsubstantiated predictions. Back in 2008, Juniper Research projected the combined market for all types of mobile payments would reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013. However, by June 2013, Gartner, Inc. predicted the market to be around $235 billion, which was nowhere near the projection from 5 years earlier. Why haven't mobile payments seen the adoption rates predicted in years past?
Posted Nov 10, 2014
A few days ago I was sitting in the drive-thru line at my local Starbucks impatiently awaiting my turn at the window. I needed a chai tea, and I needed it bad. Then I saw it. A woman reached out of her car, smartphone in hand, and waved it at the barista at the window who was wielding a scanner. This was a momentous occasion for me. It was the first time I'd seen someone actually use a mobile payment solution in person. I assumed this was all thanks to Apple Pay, but now I'm not so sure. Starbucks announced its quarterly earnings on October 30, and as it turns out, its mobile app is a star.
Posted Nov 07, 2014
Social media content can influence purchase decisions, but its role often goes uncredited since posts and tweets aren't usually the last click before a sale. "That's like only recognizing the pro basketball player who makes a shot, and completely disregarding the guy who's part of the assist," says Jason Cormier, co-founder of the digital marketing agency Room 214. New tools and strategies are changing the game, however, by enabling strong social content to more directly impact commerce.
Posted Nov 05, 2014
A surprising 54% of businesses spent less than $1 million on digital marketing in 2013, per the results of a recent study by SEMPO and Econsultancy; additionally, the study revealed that almost half of digital marketing budgets were spent on search-with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. Other top areas where digital marketing dollars were allocated included email (18%), digital display (13%t), and social media (11%). Many industry professionals, like Michael Baliber, senior vice president and director of media strategy for ID Media, are surprised by the SEMPO survey results.
Posted Oct 15, 2014
CloudCraze, a provider of Customer Engagement Commerce on the Salesforce1 Platform, announced four major product enhancements in its latest release Updates include subscription management, searcandizing, dynamic storefronts, and delegated ordering.
Posted Sep 30, 2014
Despite the fact that the Author Earnings Reports, published by writer Hugh Howey and his anonymous partner Data Guy, has added fodder to the traditional vs. self-publishing debate, for many independent writers the reports are not at all surprising. The stated primary purpose of the site is "to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions." Independent writers, however, are finding that the reports mostly confirm what they already knew, and their decision-making processes have changed very little, if at all.
Posted Aug 06, 2014