Few European firms have managed the transition from old media to new media. Europe’s print media continue to treat the Net as a paper extension, leading to few online successes. A new Report by Forrester Research B.V. (Nasdaq: FORR) outlines how publishing firms must offer deeper and richer content for the Web and move to real-time production to generate revenues through eCommerce.
“Traditional publishing firms in Europe are meeting new competition, new challenges, new revenue models, and different rules online, but they haven’t made the transition from static HTML to today’s more interactive Net environment,” explained Carsten Schmidt, associate analyst for Forrester Research B.V. “Revenue streams from the profitable classifieds business are drying up because newcomers are offering more competitive rates. Meanwhile, specialized sites are offering proprietary targeted content, and portals are creating content communities that steal away audiences.”
Forrester believes that to attract visitors and lucrative sponsors, firms must remake their editorial value for the Net. They need to focus on the creation of dynamic content — actively creating, selecting, and enriching content on a real-time basis to create a close community of readers targetable for commerce partners.
Online content requires a real-time creation process. Firms should allow writers to post stories in less than one hour from draft to online and rely more on freelancers. Online content sites need to target audiences by developing areas of focus that are central to the brand. “Users will demand more than today’s commoditized newswires. Stories should include links that are relevant, streaming video that enriches stories, and chat rooms and bulletin boards that involve users and create stickiness,” added Schmidt.
Forrester believes that the online property should be run as a separate entity, which can help raise money through an IPO. The right staff is the key to delivering online, and redesigning workflow should be top priority for traditional firms. Writers need to be Net savvy and editors must combine the best of all media worlds.
“Firms should set a target of at least 50% — compared to 20% to 30% in the print world — of non-ad revenue after one year in operation. By implementing dynamic content, firms create platforms for that commerce in two ways. First, site content can spur commerce on the site itself, and second, content syndicated offsite can bring in direct revenue,” explained Schmidt.
For the Report “Dynamic Content For Europe,” Forrester spoke with 49 European print companies to find out how they have adapted to the new environment. Fewer than half of the companies we spoke with sell content-related products on their sites, and none of them exploit affiliate networks. Current Net winners include Germany’s weekly Focus and Net pacesetters include FT.com, which reports 2 million registered users.