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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
A blog post on Amazon's Kindle forum gave some insight into the ongoing feud between the internet retailer and Hachette, one of the Big 5 publishers. Negotiations broke down months ago, and Amazon stopped allowing pre-orders of Hachette books and users reported delayed shipping on the publisher's books. Many asked if Amazon had too much power including big name authors. Now, Amazon is making it clear what's at stake: lower ebook prices and 30% cut for Amazon.
Posted Jul 31, 2014
Brainstorming about the future of digital consumption can leave you overwhelmed by the possibilities, but data released from YouGov--a global research and consulting organization--sheds some light on the emerging expectations of today's youth. The study found that nearly one in two children, aged 8-15, feel that access to online content and downloads should be free.
Posted Jul 23, 2014
TreSensa, a mobile game distribution company, announced the availability of Game Feed, a new product providing media properties and mobile publishers with a custom feed of mobile web games. TreSensa says publishers can increase mobile engagement and retain traffic on their sites rather than sending people to app stores for mobile gaming content. Game feed also enables new revenue streams through advertising and in-game purchases.
Posted Jun 24, 2014
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a global licensing and content solutions organization, has announced its next generation RightsLink for Open Access platform. The rapid growth of Open Access (OA) has introduced new complexities into scholarly and scientific publishing. RightsLink for Open Access streamlines the entire author fee transaction for OA charges, Article Processing Charges (APCs), page charges, color charges, and more. It integrates with publishers' manuscript management and production systems, providing billing and collections services, priority customer service to authors, and detailed reporting to both publishers and authors.
Posted May 29, 2014
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