Looking forward to new and exciting challenges for 2020
A selection of articles from this year which generated a lot of traffic. During 2019, I completed business strategy projects for two education publishers, due diligence support for several acquisitions and market research for two associations. Please reach out to discuss your projects or you have a C-Level search or board role I can help support. - Michael Cairns
Content owners are fascinated with memberships. Faced with eroding subscription revenue, many legacy publishers plan membership programs in a well-intentioned attempt to turn around their revenue declines, but do no more than confuse their core customers. “Membership” programs - offering more frequent content such as topic-specific newsletters, earlier access to the magazine, database content and a branded mug are nothing more than a tiered subscription offer. But when memberships are differentiated from subscriptions, they offer “members” reciprocity in the purpose and function of the publication and deeper engagement for the mutual benefit of both the member and the publication.
Perhaps the only surprise in the fact that major changes and dislocations are taking place in educational publishing is that they took so long to exhibit themselves. The more recent change is the aggressive growth of all-access textbook deals sold to students – frequently via the institution – which provide students access to the entire content catalog published by a textbook publisher.
Cengage announced this weekthat they have extended their “all you can eat” digital subscription package to the Amazon.com store. Since the company launched this subscription model, students have been able to gain digital access to everything the company publishes, all for $119.99 a semester and $179.99 for the full year.
The approach to education in prisons is improving and expanding Pell Grant eligibility will accelerate change but industry groups should do more. Ask any prison-enlightened pol what metric is most important in determining the success or failure of incarceration and they are most likely to cite recidivism – how many released prisoners return to the system. It’s also the one they would most like to improve. America has one of the largest incarceration rates in the world (IHEP) and also one of the worst recidivism rates. More focused on warehousing inmates than on rehabilitation, the US prison system still takes no collective responsibility for a revolving door system which keeps hosting the same participants like a warped frequent-flyer program.
Last year I pulled together a post discussing how I thought blockchain could (and was) be used within the publishing industry. (Publishing in the Age of Blockchain). There is definitely still excitement about blockchain but my impression is less about the hype and more about actually doing stuff that works. I said last year the use of blockchain with the identification and management of intellectual works looks like a very viable business case. After my post last year, I was approached by several organizations in the news and image management area seeking more discussion about how some of these initiatives could help support their business objectives.
This report identifies over 100 software and services providers and reviews in detail more than 30 providers serving publishers of all types and sizes. In this report, we list the leading providers of financial & accounting, rights, contracts and royalties, product information, editorial and production management and content management solutions.