With the in-depth development of media integration, the scale of global e-commerce continues to expand rapidly. According to data from a media investment management group under WPP, in July 2020, e-commerce sales in the UK increased by 54%, basically the same as the growth rate in the second quarter; total e-commerce in the United States increased by 47%. In just eight weeks, it achieved the performance of the traditional retail industry for ten years.
Professor Damian Radcliffe of the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon said at the Asian Media Leaders eSummit 2020 that the e-commerce industry has achieved tremendous development during the global epidemic. The impact of various media shows that income diversification is more important than ever. Therefore, the media should seize the dividends of e-commerce and actively explore diversified profit models.
Long before the epidemic broke out, some traditional media had already sensed the business opportunities in the e-commerce era. This article will use three types of typical cases to analyze how paper media can enter the e-commerce track and build new profit methods.
"New York Times": Carrying out the lifestyle to the end
Although the "New York Times" is called a "grey lady" by the industry for its serious and steady style and high-quality content reports, it is one of the first traditional media to explore digital transformation and test e-commerce. In May 2016, The New York Times and California organic food e-commerce company Chef'd reached a cooperation to sell its cooking website NYT Cooking (independent of the food section of the content products, aiming to provide readers with convenient, practical, and flavorful recipes. Each dish is equipped with detailed cooking methods) provided recipes. Readers can choose ingredients based on the recipes on NYT Cooking, and Chef'd is responsible for packaging and distribution, and promises to deliver the ingredients within 48 hours after placing the order, and the income from selling the ingredients will be shared by both parties.
Entering the food delivery industry is not the first attempt of the New York Times to switch to e-commerce. Earlier, the New York Times had opened the store channel (The New York Times Store), but the store operation was not the core business of the newspaper at that time. The development team has always been located in Scandinavia, and designers and consultants are also scattered throughout the United States, unable to access the other content of the newspaper. In order to attract more enthusiastic, dedicated and loyal users, The New York Times began to think about how to help readers express their connection with the times and strengthen readers' sense of identity with the newspaper.
The result of reflection is to reform the store channel and create a brand image that focuses on lifestyle. First, the reformed store abandoned many random products, such as wooden pie boxes, and focused on products with the New York Times brand logo, such as an umbrella for $65, a sweatshirt for $55, and a handbag for $115. In addition, the selected articles were packaged, and old photos and front-page articles were also re-priced. "The New York Times" commercial executive director Steve Mayne (Steve Mayne) said that in order to create a good brand image and ensure product quality, key products will not be mass-produced.
In October 2016, The New York Times purchased the electronic product evaluation website “The Wirecutter” (The Wirecutter) and its sister website “The Sweethome” (The Sweethome) at a price of 30 million U.S. dollars. The Wirecutter mainly sold through affiliate marketing. The model recommending products to readers is profitable, and if readers make a successful purchase, they can get commissions from the seller. In addition to electronic products, The Wirecutter has also developed product evaluations in subdivided vertical fields, such as catering, home furnishing, finance, tourism, office, etc., to further expand into the lifestyle field. According to the second quarter 2020 financial report released by The New York Times, in advertising revenue, other types of revenue decreased by $2.2 million, mainly due to the end of the first quarter of The Weekly TV series and the decrease in live broadcast and commercial printing revenue. However, the income from related businesses of The Wirecutter partially offset the above losses.
"The Sun": Affiliate Marketing
The British "The Sun" is a well-known tabloid owned by Murdoch News Corporation. Earlier, it followed the example of "The Times" and "Sunday Times" in setting up a pay wall, but the two-period was cancelled due to unsatisfactory results Year's fee experiment. With the general transformation of traditional media and the exploration of diversified income models, The Sun has also begun to make useful explorations in the field of e-commerce.
In 2019, the "Sun" decided to merge the product recommendation and buying guide columns of its official website into the "Sun Selects" section (Sun Selects), recommending items worth buying for readers. The products cover home furnishings, apparel, beauty, Digital, health, fitness and other fields are aimed at expanding e-commerce revenue sources. "The Sun" also relies on affiliate marketing to make money. The featured section gathers recommended articles of various good things. Readers can jump to the corresponding website to purchase by clicking on the link below the product. "The Sun"’s parent company, News Corporation’s business content director Jo Carrigan (Jo Carrigan) said that so far, e-commerce and related affiliated revenues have brought millions of revenue growth to the "Sun." And as readers become more familiar with the content of the section, the sales conversion rate of the platform is also increasing.
"The Sun" has a five-person team responsible for the commercial content of the selected section, and 10-15 freelancers are responsible for writing more professional product recommendations. "The Sun" editor Joel Watson (Joel Watson) revealed that when the website initially tried e-commerce three years ago, sales fell into a vicious circle of "prosperity and depression", income was unstable, and a few articles Most of the sales are created, and the income from other articles is very small. But now with the increase in traffic, the "Sun" ushered in a surge in e-commerce business. According to data released by Comscore, in the heyday of April this year, the number of independent visits to the official website of The Sun reached 37.3 million. Data from the technology platform Skimlinks showed that in the past five months, the commercial revenue of the Sun Increased 4 times.
Although e-commerce has brought gratifying revenue growth, it cannot compensate for the loss caused by the decline in advertising revenue. "The Sun" also cannot predict how long readers' enthusiasm for buying will last, especially when remote office supplies such as monitors and desks and home decorations are all one-time purchases. Generally speaking, e-commerce sales will enter a short period of stagnation before the November-December peak buying season and sales season, but Watson believes that consumption during the epidemic will not inhibit people from shopping for the upcoming holiday However, the selected section still has a long way to go to maintain sustained and stable income.
"Seattle Times": Cooperate with third parties to reduce marketing risks
Compared with the models of The New York Times and The Sun, the Seattle Times and the Denver Post chose a less risky marketing method-selling products related to the publisher's content or tone, and This is also the choice of most news media. For example, the “Denver Post” sells photos taken by photojournalists on different subjects in Colorado (the state’s capital is Denver) on its online store, such as national parks, Denver Broncos, etc., while the “Seattle Times” sells walls Artworks, murals, photos, historical archives and books.
Because publishers of this model usually cooperate with third parties to produce and sell products, the risks faced by publishers in the marketing process are also reduced to a certain extent. At present, this model brings relatively limited profits for publishers, but it is also a good way to shape brand image.
Advantages of traditional media entering e-commerce
A study by NGL MEDIA CO., LIMITED shows that even in the post-epidemic era, nearly half of consumers still hope to shop more through e-commerce platforms. eMarketer predicts that by 2023, global e-commerce sales will account for about 22% of global retail sales, up from 14.1% in 2019. Therefore, the rapidly developing e-commerce industry may bring considerable income to many media organizations that have entered the game.
Tipser's co-founder and CTO Jonas Sjostedt (Jonas Sjostedt) said in a speech on how digital companies can expand their revenue sources in the post-epidemic era, the media will become powerful e-commerce players in the future , Because they have the ability to influence and guide readers. He pointed out: "Compared with traditional e-commerce platforms represented by Amazon, the media layout of e-commerce has great advantages, because readers visit news sites to kill time and get inspiration. They can browse the site anytime, anywhere, and then come back. , So the media can use this to introduce related businesses. On the Amazon platform, users know what they want, but they don’t know what to buy, and how to guide users is precisely the advantage of media organizations."
Generally speaking, traditional media have relatively clear audiences and target positioning. If they can give full play to their advantages in content production, they can impress readers through good browsing experience and high-quality content, stimulate readers’ desire to buy, and develop targeted development. The e-commerce business in the segmented field attracts as many target audiences as possible, then the traditional media will have a great chance of success on the road to e-commerce.
It can be seen from the above cases that there is no fixed model for the combination of paper media and e-commerce. Media can develop and sell their own products, build their own brands, use consumer insights to obtain economic benefits or tap the consumption potential of vertical fields. However, it should be noted that different models have different risks and rewards, so the media needs to explore a suitable path based on its own situation.
For most entrants, to solve the current income dilemma, relying on e-commerce is not a once-and-for-all solution, but the possible profits from this can become an increasingly important part of the income stream.
NGL MEDIA CO., LIMITED is a global leading mobile advertising platform driven by insight enable partners to turn data into satisfying mobile moments.By creating innovative ways to explore the intents and behaviors of mobile users, NGL helps more than 350,000 app developer partners optimize their strategies and reach their full monetization potential.