Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Aggregating and Re-Packaging Print Online

Scott Karp wrote an extraordinary piece in Digital Media Wire about how the web forces publishes to unbundle content and allow readers to search for the content they want.

He discusses how Advanstar has consolidated its content to allow its readers to search for content in one portal site.

Karp writes:

Publishing was a great business because you could sell the WHOLE package
(title) even though readers only valued PART of the package (articles), and you
could get readers to buy multiple packages even though what would really serve
them best was a single package with exactly the content they wanted.

On the web, of course, all that has changed.

Publishing online has become much more reader-centric, where smart publishers are now unbundling the old content packages that were defined by print titles, pouring all the content into one big bucket, and allowing readers to access that content by topic or through search. These publishers are not throwing out the print brands, as they still have great value (e.g. trust, authority), but they are allowing each article to stand on its own and be part of many different content packages.
In short, to quote David Weinberger, these niche publishers are finding that all of their content is miscellaneous.

Here’s a great video that dramatizes the new realities of
digital content: For example, Advanstar recently announced that it had
integrated all of its health care industry journal sites into a single portal
site (via Folio): Existing Web sites for Advanstar’s five primary care publications—including Medical Economics—and seven specialty care publications will be integrated into The portal will also offer article summaries from 300 peer reviewed journals, coding and reimbursement tools, formulary status tools, a library of CME programs, customized patient education, and coverage of more than 80 medical conferences. Content is free but access requires registration and Advanstar expects more than 100,000 registered users in 2008.

“At a time when pharma is challenged, this allows you to have a revenue
stream beyond just pharma,” says Steve Morris, executive vice president of
Advanstar’s Life Science Group. “We don’t want to make this just another CME
site. This really broadens the idea of what a portal site should be.”
That broader business focus includes partnering with traditional competitors,
including CMP, which is offering its Search Medica search tool to, as well as Quadrant, which is offering a CME planning tool.

“People recognize they may not have the assets to build something this big but
maybe they can partner with us and get a revenue share,” says Morris.
There two are notable elements about First, users can
browse content by TOPIC, rather than by publication title. These topics are
organized into a Resource Centers:

For example, here is a list of articles from the Diabetes
Resource Center
— notice how the print brands are still highlighted, but the
content has been completely repackaged by topical focus.

Here’s another example from the Family
Medicine Resource Center

Of course, users are not limited to these fixed Resource Center topics — they can
easily search across all of the content by any keyword, e.g. diabetes
. The second notable element is the aggregation of content
summaries from other medical journals NOT published by Advanstar:

The inclusion of third-party content is a radical step from a traditional publishing
perspective but makes perfect sense from this new user-centric perspective.
Here’s how it’s framed for users:

Rather than asking users to subscribe to every publication, Advanstar is wisely asking them to register only once and then leverage that user data across the the
entire site. What’s really striking is how much more user-friendly this
approach is, particularly for a general title like Patient Care, which is
probably relevant to all physicians but only some of the time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Universal McCann Forecasts Paltry Ad Spending Growth

As reported in Crains New York, Universal McCann, a widely respected forecaster of advertiser spending, reduced its estimate of 2007 spending growth to 0.7 %. This is down significantly from the 4.8% growth projected for 2007 twelve months ago.

Back in September, Crains reported figures from Nielsen that showed television, radio and newspaper advertising was dropping while internet advertising rose 23.6%.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, with advertiser spending remaining somewhat flat with a redistribution toward the internet.