At the beginning of this year we looked at the 10 key trends which we believed would define publishing in 2012 and beyond. In this post, we take another look at these predictions as 2012 enters its late stages, and evaluate just how much difference nine months make to an industry.
Making Facebook Pay
Buzz over how publishers and other companies could get monetary leverage from their presences on social media reached higher than ever level this year. If anything, however, this is turning out to be the year where upstart networks – particularly content sharing sites, such as Pinterest - stole thunder and some compelling ROI pitches from the big beasts.
While Facebook enjoyed the biggest tech IPO in recent years, it has recently come in for stinging criticism as its share price crashed and pundits bemoan the network’s inability to deliver mobile advertising. So perhaps 2012 has ended up being the year where Facebook worries about paying for itself and its shareholders, rather than the year it ended up being a compelling proposition for brands.
Just as we predicted, this has proved to be one of 2012’s most hotly debated topics, with both sides arguing their sides strongly. Often the pitch of the debate matched the urgency of the situation – we are, after all, talking about the future of academic research so it’s crucial that, whatever happens, it maintains the standards that make it so useful to researchers, academics and the public at large.
You cannot predict the outcome of this debate because there will not be a single outcome. I think there will be an explosion of new and hybrid business models for academic publishing, as this trend towards more open access combined with many other moves in the industry, encourages a more experimental approach to content delivery and audience development.
Multiply and Conquer
Multi-format publishing has rapidly gone from being a novelty to normality. Big publishers are now well aware that they are less publishers of books and journals and more multimedia content producers. Interestingly Harper Collins’ CEO, Victoria Barnsley, acknowledged just this in an interview published in The Observer recently. Certainly the flair with which Random House turned Fifty Shades of Grey from an e-book into a print phenomenon as well, suggests that a savvy publisher can ensure that success cuts both ways in this new digital world.
Long live King consumer
iPhones and then iPads drove a “we must have an app” mentality, but as we suspected, the consumer would quickly change our views. As smartphones become increasingly important as devices for reading, the “I must have an iPhone app” syndrome weakens. The diversity of devices which can provide a reading experience which are now available to consumers is bringing the platform rather than the app to the fore.