This is a critical year for publishers.
Economic uncertainty and changes to the digital landscape have publishers hyper-focused on their bottom line. As the industry experiments with new business models, launches new forms of content, and reckons with big shifts in audience experiences, protecting institutional revenues and diversifying revenue streams is front of mind for many.
In Hum & Silverchair’s 2023 Publishing Technology Trends Report, we asked twelve publishing industry experts to share what they believe will be the #1 revenue growth opportunity for publishers in 2023. Here’s what they said:
New Products and New Business Models
2023 will bring forward a year of experimentation and adaptation as OSTP and OA coincide with the ongoing shift from print to digital.
Expect to see new products that add value to the publishing process, publishers investing in opportunities to expand their reach, and a boom of multimedia and third-party content.
- Nontraditional products (not books and journals) that encompass multimedia and build on publishers' access to SME and brand, and meet the desire for expanded e-learning resources. — Jessica Lawrence-Hurt, Cadmore Media
- 1) Collections. 2) Continuing to invest in open access programs and launching new open access titles. 3) Monetizing underutilized content like that from digital meetings. 4) Reconsidering third-party content, licensing, and aggregation models. — Will Schweitzer, Silverchair
- Aside from new products (which are always a revenue stream, but are becoming increasingly difficult to maximize), I would say services related to data, intel, and authors. — Tanya Laplante, Oxford University Press
- Content syndication. — Heather Staines, Delta Think
Publishers have been talking about how valuable data is for years. But in 2023, amidst the slow crumbling of the third-party cookie and an ever-changing digital advertising landscape - it’s the publishers that focus on harnessing real audience and content insights who will get ahead and stay ahead.
Expect to see publishers leaning on data to drive content decisions, audience engagement, and content personalization, as well as using data to pursue new opportunities for ad revenue. Many publishers will also be wise to invest in data literacy and tools that can help their teams make sense of data.
- In terms of new revenue streams, data. As in selling data and in understanding data, content, & audience to optimize sales and relevance. — Neil Christensen, Oable
- First-party data will help those publishers that are able to capture and action it do all sorts of critical, revenue-generating and revenue-improving things: publish more; publish faster; review better; improve author experience (so critical for many of the current OA models); improve reader experience; improve discovery; offer personalization; improve advertising opportunities; the list is long. And exciting! — John Challice, Hum
Focus on Experience
Expectations around the quality of digital experiences continue to boom - and publishers are increasingly thinking “audience-first.”
This means serving readers, editors, librarians and institutional decision-makers, society members, and students with accurate and timely content recommendations and personalized messaging.
This line of thinking also extends to author and reviewer experiences, which are gaining in importance as OA shifts the dynamics of the publisher/author relationship. The success of publishers will increasingly be measured by the strength of their portfolio, and investing in products and tech that can help them compete for top authors is a key way to do that.
- Improving community resonance and engagement. Publishers and providers in the research ecosystem are starting to look at who their audience really is and how to resonate better with them. We have a responsibility to improve the marketing we do across the industry, to ultimately improve the experience and engagement of those on the receiving end. — Lou Peck, the International Bunch
- Author Enhancement Products. Despite author cries for no budget for OA, I think other vanity products that capitalize on their egos manage to get them to dig into their own personal wallets. (Spotlight Covers/Cover Supplements being a key example.) Further adding on products that promote their own work to build upon their CVs and professional careers might be the NEW revenue approach. As for the traditional models, OA and OA partnerships to maintain subscriptions will continue to be a priority. — Stacey Burke, American Physiological Society
- The expansion of journals that offer/require APCs. The publisher that can nail a consistent author experience, combined with a fair review experience in a timeframe that is acceptable to submitters is going to drive greater revenue long term. Ultimately though, I think publishers will continue to drive revenue through APC deals with institutions. — Sven Molter, PLOS
- Sustainability. All my publisher clients want open access/open infrastructure/open science without high APCs. So it's about more revenue to support the process, not to drive profit. — Mark Huskisson, The Husk Agency