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End of an Era: RIP Print (The case of Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

Posted in Internet and Search, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on March 15, 2012

One of the most enduring and endearing representatives of print is Encyclopaedia Brittanica which after 244 years of print run shut its print run. EB will be available in digital and web formats now on. The product most associated with wisdom of the crowds i.e Wikipedia is credited with the death of the Print edition of EB. EB maintains that the death of Print edition is because the digital media encyclopaedia is taken over. Print encyclopedias account for less than 1% of Britannica’s revenue, while 85% of the revenue comes from educational products and 15 percent from the $70 subscription to its website, which about half a million households pay. Recently, the company recently launched a set of apps ranging between $1.99 and $4.99 per month. Thus the end of Print EB is more about the death of paper and print era at the hands of digital media.
Stating the death of the print media, Jorge Cauz, President of EB expects many trade publishers not to survive and content development company to be filling up the gap

Image courtesy: Statista

Qouting Cauz:
The print edition became more difficult to maintain and wasn’t the best physical element to deliver the quality of our database and the quality of our editorial
It’s a rite of passage in this new era. Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.
Furthermore, Cauz predicts that, “print may not completely vanish from the market, but I think it is going to be increasingly less important. Many publications will never have a print analog and will only be printed on digital formats.”

Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 2): Where’s the money?

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 16, 2010

Guardian’s experiment with open source data has proven one thing quite clear that Public data is a growth media for an ecosystem to form. Public data on open source is a nutrient of a whole new eco-system and allow new things to happen. The key to monetization of the open systems in this case is building user centric apps which have a business model.
The applications build on the Guardian Open source platform is divided into three categories mainly differentiated by span of Guardian’s control and the revenue/revenue share model.

So then where is the money?

Guardian’s open platform gives API and Content Developers 3 tiers of access and 3 separate revenue models to choose from:

BESPOKE: Taking, Reformatting, and content augmentation with same access as that of Guardian. Allows custom access for licensing content and integrating rich applications. The revenue is a combination of sponsorship, media, fees, revenue share and downloads.

APPROVED: This involves taking the full Guardian article content, with an advert. Out of this Guardian keeps the ad revenue and the API developer keeps the rest of the page revenue.

KEYLESS: The API developer takes Guardian’s content and keeps part of the associated revenues. Thus there is free access to headlines,data,tags and meta data. There is no key required and partner keeps associated revenue from the page.

What this means for Guardian is that developers are able to access full content APIs on demand from Guardian with keys approved thus making the platform a place to do business with Guardian and engage its scale. Rapid scalability, reliability and performance are the core requirements.


The technology back end running the open source

To assist the developers, Guardian has the Microapps which is a third framework for integrating 3rd party apps into the Guardian platform. The Microapps helps developers integrate their solutions more easily and readily into the Guardian core and evolve the Guardian open platform to be the commercial future of the partners/developers.

Thus the open source platform would be instrumental for Guardian in terms of
• Moving away from content broadcast, and yet keep the growth engines running
• Partner engagement and open source contributions on journalism, data, software, applications, revenue and ads
• It would also support the developers and partners with data and APIs, scalability, reliability and speed.
Guardians enterprising effort build on open source is pretty much on its way to re-define media and thought behind media.

In times to come, media will need to evolve into a two way communication path and Guardian will be referred as a case study, as a pioneer of new media.

Amen!

Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 1): Coming of Age (Driving Innovation to stay relevant in Media)

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 13, 2010

RIP, Print Media!

The proliferation of Digital and Social Media and Google have had an adverse impact on the print media by means of replacement.Communication is two way, immediate and Twitter has now added a dash of “conversation streams” to the news and print.

In this context, Guardian’s effort to move from being just a broadcast publisher to a platform and use content , search and open source to build a new business model around news and media is noteworthy. The transition from news and journalism to news, data, video, audio, content partnerships, innovation, conversation, comments, keywords, podcasts, recommendations, hashtags and live blogs is a case study.The bottomline is about Guardian’s evolution to a platform and not just a publisher.

This platform approach is about changing the perspective from “bringing the data and apps from the internet” to “enabling partners to build applications using proprietary content and services for all digital platforms”. The idea is “experimenting in combining the experience and knowledge of a large media network with experience, opinions and expertise of people who want to participate rather than passively receive content and news”.

Guardian’s open platform is thus its suite of services enabling its partners to build applications with Guardian. The platform has three parts to it:
Content API: A service for collecting and selecting content from the Guardian for re-use

Data store: A directory of useful data curated by Guardian editors.The developers can take this content of the newspaper as the raw material for building new businesses. This raw data is useful in profiling demographics and trends and data catalogues,

Politics API: Database of candidates, voting records, constituencies, election results and live data on election day. The data here is again freely available for use and analysis. Developers innovate on this data and develop interesting tools such as the voter power index for the recent British elections which lets the user know his vote’s woth basis his marginality and constituency size.

Thus Guardian has been making interesting use of Public data to make its own media eco-system and allow “open ssource” innovation to take over.The emerging trends point to change in public participation space aroud public data. Public data can create new economies, improve procurement processes and through evolutionary pressure in the marketplace increase the usability and user centricity of applications that access Government services. Guardian is stepping as a facilitator for consumers of these services to provide an environment where Consumers can get better and access to newer things, mediated by the ingenuity of the developers

Part 2: How the open source makes money?

RIP:Print media?

Posted in The Technology Ecosystem by Manas Ganguly on September 19, 2009

RIP Print MediaThere are many who believe that in the days to come print media will be a dinosaur. Not in the size terms but more in the existance terms. It will be extinct. My thoughts on the subject:

The many who believe that print will be dead seem to be assuming print media to be news. Digital content is very ominously shaking the basics of the news print industry as we know it today! The  reasons why print media news appears to be failing are

  • Digital content has become increasing real time.
  • Digital content is becoming crowd sourced.
  • Digital content can be customized
  • Digital content measures its audience better and thus for the advertiser, it focusses his campaign better on the right audience. In brief, it increases efficiency.
  • The print media is not seen as environment friendly. The raw material, wood pulp requires millions of trees to be sawed off.

Thus the traditional news on print industry is facing a double whamy where users are moving to customizable news content and advertisers are reducing their marketing spends because they are unsure about the target group/audience match! Almost all large newspaper houses now have their website and lately have registered on other mediums such as www.twitter.com, www.facebook.com, www.digg.com, www.stumbleupon.com, www.delicious.com, www.readit.com and more…

The idea is to stay relevant in the digital age and engage/interact with consumers. News is soon becoming a two way communication instead of the one way information flow that it had been so many years.

However, does this mean the end of print media?

No…

Reasons: The theme behind the failure is target, customization and focus. Marketeers being able to target their users well and users able to see content which is customized to their requirements.

Print media is more than just news. Reading is more than an electronic habit. So there will be niche’s that the print industry will successfully cater to. The more properly defined the niche is, the better the chances of making money. Journals and Publications which are very niche focused will continue to thrive because it will be producing customized content to a select target audience  and there would be opportunities in the niche to make marketing programs viable!

Besides, there is always a thing about the reading habit and the love of reading…. the way it has been through ages!

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