FIPP Congress 2013 in Roma - Afterthoughts

The FIPP Congress 2013 in Rome is over and after spending the last three days in Rome at the FIPP Congress I am left with many impressions and have met lots of great people. Not to mention the excellent location on the hill overlooking all of Rome and the Italian food.

Crowd Sourced Magazine Production

There were some neat concepts for crowd sourced production of Magazines from both Marjaana Toiminen (CEO Bonnier Publications) and Tarun Rai (CEO Worldwide Media). What a great way to expand your brand and build a community around your magazine brand. This is an example to follow for other publishers. Building a community around your brand is in my opinion the best way to create digital success.

Digital first  - Not so obvious

There were much talk about going digital first and doing true multi-channel publishing. It seems like this is a fact of business for magazine publishers. But really when speaking to people it gets apparent that the publishers actually acting on this and re-inventing themselves for the digital first approach is not that common. Most are really still in the mode of print first and some digital on the side. Looking for others and what they have success with. Honestly a bit surprised that the owners of such great brands are not monetizing on their digital potential. Here there is a huge untapped potential for the publishers.

Digital Monetization

Why are most publishers still afraid of charging for content online? Magazine content is really not something they have to give away. This is the long standing debate on conferences like this, but really publishers must not be afraid of charging for their content combined with community building. I was expecting to see more discussions on what content to charge for and more a united front to put up pay-walls across the industry. Memberships to their online communities is something, when well designed, consumers will pay for. To make really unique online products the magazine publishers need to invest and not take shortcuts. Their brands are too valuable for this. So, I would advise: just start charging for your content.

Are Publishers Flying Blind?

Many publishers I talk to seem to be flying blind digitally. Journalists and editors really need to get better measurement tools and become more KPI driven. They are there to drive digital revenue and really need to understand what content and what digital efforts are paying off. It is not about buying traffic, as many are doing, but to understand how you can optimise the organic traffic they already have. Leverage the momentum stories get from social media and repeat success recipes etc. To do this they need the measurement tools that can empower their teams to focus on repeating and optimising digital success.