Monetizing Content in a Digital World

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May 4, 2012

With a plethora of content sources and expanding number of media channels to choose from, consumers have their pick of where and how to get their information. While print is generally expected to come at a cost, the Internet has opened up the number of digital sources for information, often at no cost and varying quality, competing with traditional media brands and their content.  The increase in number of sources also drives an increase in competition for ad-sponsorship, leading to a recent rise in  paywall or digital subscription models. As a result, advertisers, publishers, media brand owners, and content creators of all sizes are looking beyond their traditional business models to find new ways to monetize their content.

Today’s content, however, is not just text or graphics. It includes rich media such as video, audio, animation, games, and social that can all be accessed through the web or mobile apps.  Technology providers, which have previously focused on managing and measuring content, are adding monetization capabilities to provide more integrated offerings. Some examples include Kaltura, Ooyala and Origin Digital which all focus on video, BAMM.tv for music, and Adobe, which is weaving capabilities to achieve monetization into its digital media and digital marketing products.

Content monetization is not a new concept and there are a variety of business models currently used for it. Some of the better known models fall into 3 main categories:

Consumer-paid models

  • Subscription or paywall: Users subscribe to content for a monthly or annual fee.
  • Transaction: Unbundled pieces of content, such as song or video downloads, are sold individually.
  • Metered: Content is free until a user reaches a certain threshold, such as number of articles or videos viewed or based on the amount of time viewing.

Funded models

  • Syndication: Other businesses license content.
  • Ad-supported: Content is completely funded through ads.

Hybrid models

  • Freemium: Most content is sponsored through ads and paid access to premium content
  • Marketing loss: Content given away for free in one channel to drive purchases in another channel

For media brands and publishers to actively compete in today’s digital world, they must look towards new and innovative ways to drive a profit from their content. Emerging social media networks, such as Pinterest, are helping uncover new content monetization opportunities through solutions such as Skimlinks or VigLink, which convert links and product references into affiliate links that direct a reader to a site to purchase the item being described or shared. Content providers are compensated through micropayments made by the affiliates. New social gaming solutions such as Badgeville, Bunchball, and SessionM are providing media brands a platform for streaming ads to users incentivised with rewards for viewing, engaging, and sharing.

These new models and more will be discussed as media leaders come together to discuss new opportunities for monetizing content at DCM (Digital Content Monetization). DCM is an annual set of conferences that provides a forum for senior-level speakers, attendees, and industry partners within the media and publishing industries to discuss ideas and strategies that improve processes, build audiences, and create relationships that generate revenue through digital content. The conference is held three times a year; DCM Europe in London, DCM West in Los Angeles, and DCM East in New York.

DCM East will be held June 19-21 this year and is boasting speakers from some of the leading sports, entertainment, music, advertising, and publishing brands in the world. For those interested in attending the conference, the early bird discount ends Friday May 4th.

As advertisers, publishers, media brand owners, and content creators continue to face greater competition in traditional content monetization models, new and innovative models will continue to emerge, leveraging the rich, digital media that is being created. Through collaborative events such as DCM, technology and solution providers can listen to the challenges these media leaders face and develop solutions that keep up with evolving monetization models and media channels. Managing or measuring content isn’t enough; crafting valuable offerings that will help monetize content is something that all publishers need to be focusing on, and there are a number of technologies and partners that can help.

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