As we watch the many drama's in the media, the drama of the media itself trying to survive and the many micro dramas of competition and collaboration in the content management space, it's fun to get points of view from different seats at the table.
Recently we had a chance to discuss the web publishing business, Drupal partnerships, new revenue models for publishers and the quality of modern journalism with Erik Schut, the President of WoodWing Software.
As a provider of Web Publishing technologies and a company that has integrated with the likes of Alfresco, Drupal and most recently eZ Publish, the company is in the thick of the modernizing efforts of publishers. Erik had some interesting ideas to share.
CMSWire: What do you think is the most technically innovative thing happening for digital publishers today?
See how capable Smartphones like the iPhone, the upcoming Palm Pre or many others are today. You can imagine, that these devices will become one of the most important new channels in the mid future. Publishers all kind need to develop strategies to address this challenge and ways to monetize them.
CW: How do you see products like Drupal fitting into the future of digital publishing?
Regardless, if it’s print or online - publishing has been and will be about attracting communities. Drupal is one of the most powerful systems to develop Web 2.0 platforms and to support communities. So, in a nutshell, it is a perfect fit.
CW: Do products like Drupal threaten to take market share from vendors like Woodwing, why or why not?
We don´t think so. Our products focus on the entire Publishing process -- from conception to publication -- for all required types of media and channels. Although there are some Web CMS's trying to move into the earlier phases of the publishing process, their structures are not designed to do so and therefore they fail or require endless customizations. Drupal (like other Web CMS's) is focused on delivering the best Web enabling functionality hence very complementary to our products.
CW: What do you see as the most important concern for digital publishers in 2009 (more specifically than generating revenue)?
That depends where you come from. Being a start-up digital only publisher, having found a new business model, even today you are still looking at great opportunities. Being a well know publisher from the print days and moving into a digital only publishing environment you will have tough times seeking comparable revenues than you have had in the print-days, cost cutting is unavoidable since the online revenue usually does not even come close to the printed revenue - at least, when they continue to think just about ads as the major source of revenue.
CW: What new sources of income do you think are most promising for publishers?
Well, I see all the "Pay per"-models as most promising -- Pay per Sale or Lead, Pay per Download, Pay per Service.
You can see already, that the classic full page ad is more or less a thing of the past -- cross media strategies including all the models I mentioned open up new business chances both for the publishers as well as their customers.
CW: Some people say new technologies like twitter and blogs are eroding the quality of journalism. Can you share some thoughts on how you view the relationship between publishing technologies and journalism?
Our products do not influence the informational value of content, and as a vendor we are probably not the right institution to comment on these more philosophical issues.
Let me give you my personal view -- it depends, on what you call quality. If quality means non-biased, based on in-depth research, written by a professional journalist, published only based on facts and after hearing all parties involved -- yes quality will drop.
If quality means on-the-spot, instantly, covered by a larger number of writers, juiced with opinions and emotions, I'd say quality improves. Probably both forms will coexist with different pricing models in future.
WoodWing was founded in 2000 and started life as the first company to fully commit to the Adobe InDesign and InCopy platform. Their core product, Enterprise -- the Publishing Platform, is focused on what the company calls Editorial Content Management.
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