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Convergence

The online/offline media conundrum

Vincent Heeringa February 2010

Idealog magazine has always aspired to be an integrated online and offline media product—and we’ve kind of succeeded. You can experience Idealog via print, video, events, Twitter, email and the web – and it’s fairly coherent across all the platforms. There are as many people who know us by our email newsletter and Twitter as know us as a magazine, which is good news for a brand with a small marketing budget.

We’ve been less successful in converting all of that activity into sales. Despite being well known and well liked we have until now failed to ask people to pay for what they receive. It's a fairly classic online dilemma! How do you covert the free stuff into paying customers? For media the problem is especially acute because the information we produce is not just a pointer to a product that then gets sold - it is the product.

One of my jobs this year is to find a way to monetise the large and committed online audience we have built. I suspect the answer will not lie in charging people for content but charging for online services like directories and customised content for companies.

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