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Data: making sense of it all

Shortage of data is not the problem for most publishers; it’s working out what to do with it that is the challenge. Actionable intelligence is the key, says Ian Eckert, to reversing the record of online underachievement.

It seems hard to believe but we’re about to enter our third decade living with the web as a publishing medium. An even more sobering thought is that in the 15 years or so since mainstream publishers started to experiment with online platforms, they’re still struggling to find viable commercial models.

Of course, there are many examples of digital publishing success stories. Those such as Autotrader that recognised the potential threat to existing revenue streams and innovated early have managed to maintain - and in some cases improve - their market position in a mixed-platform environment. Others have found new audiences, advertisers and revenues thanks to the improved reach they can achieve when released from the constraints of print distribution.

But look across the publishing sector as a whole and - notwithstanding the cyclical effects of the recession - the picture is grim. In most markets both audience and yields are under pressure and, more often than not, digital is a big part of the problem rather than the solution.

To read the full article by Abacus’ Ian Eckert, see the Jan/ Feb edition of InPublishing.

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