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Digital publishing no longer a gamble for future: Experts

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Digital publishing no longer a gamble for future: Experts

“Digital publishing is no more a gamble for the future,” said Girish Ramdas, CEO and Co-Founder, Magzter. To corroborate his view, Ramdas pointed out that publishers are moving towards the digital front by not only remonetising their business, but also repackaging the content separately. He further said that various tools are being steadily used by publishers to augment their presence in the digital domain.

Ramdas further shared, “As of now, only 400 of the 58,000 publications in India have good digital presence, while in the US, the number of digital publications, along with print, stands at 1,500.” He further said that smartphones and tablets have revolutionised media consumption habits and added that that among the digital consumers, 52 per cent use Android, 35 per cent use Apple iOS, while 7 per cent use BlackBerry and 2 per cent use Windows 8.

The revenue models can be developed sequentially in the digital domain, viz., retaining the advertiser, retaining print ad at no extra cost, removing print ads and having exclusive content for digital, evangelise sales and subscription revenues by selling special interest publications, and then correspondingly charging for the same.

Ramdas made some interesting observations such as 70 per cent of tablet users are first time readers of the magazines, cross platform availability is the key to stay robust, social sharing of links and articles is far more value-oriented, and adding to everything, he also mentioned that 75 per cent of the magazine buyers in an emerging market are based outside the country. “Interactivity is the key driver here, and engagement on interactivity module is far more in the digital domain,” he summed up.

Ramdas quoted some relevant statistics to give an idea of what digital readers are up to. He said that 68 per cent of the digital readers prefer subscription. Subscription figures are divided between News (34 per cent), Lifestyle and Entertainment (33 per cent) and Business (12 per cent). He mentioned that top devices used for subscription and reading interface are iPhone/iPad (79 per cent), Web Browsing (9 per cent), Amazon Kindle (7 per cent), Android (4 per cent) and Windows 8 (1 per cent).

His thoughts were echoed by Michael Galin, EVP, Research, Gfk Mediamark Research and Intelligence, LLC. Giving an idea about the US digital reader market, Galin said that while 53 per cent of the tablet and smartphone users read an e-book, 32 per cent read digital magazines. Thirty-one per cent go to the website of the magazine. Moreover, 53 per cent socially network through tablets.

On the question as to whether media behaviour has changed owing to tablet usage, Galin replied in the affirmative and added that with the advent of tablets, users have started multi-tasking, listening to the radio, and even used the tablet in the bathroom. Globally, these devices have led to the beginning of a new era.

Galin also clarified that while 44 per cent of the readers re-read the present paper version on the tablet, 19 per cent read the archives. At the same time she admitted that it does cause some problems in measurement of the audiences.

Girish Ramdas and Michael Galin were speaking during the session on ‘Consumers’ use of tablets, mobiles and other digital devices’ at the 7th Indian Magazine Congress, being held in Mumbai on February 14 and 15, 2013.

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