On channels

I was at an information seminar this evening for an introductory presentation about the new online Fairfax Media digital product to replace some key Fairfax business publications currently available from third party vendors. Registration for the new beta service is currently taking place. Fairfax are the publishers of the Australian Financial Review and other business related publications like “Boss” and “BRW”. The decision to switch from delivering Fairfax business content through third party vendors to a single channel via Fairfax Business Media was made for a number of commercial reasons, but little of it resounded with me and many others as consumers of online Fairfax business news.

Interestingly, one of the few newspaper publishers to make money from a digital news service is The Guardian  from the UK. It will be interesting to see if the Fairfax model works.

The single channel approach is to help drive revenues and establish a digital platform for Fairfax Business Media, and presumably, other Fairfax media publications down the track. It struck me that Fairfax Media hadn’t really considered the practical business needs of key markets, particularly the educational market. The interesting point for me was that the product was being offered without IP authentication (relying on user registrations and passwords), that there was considerable user (organisational) administration, and that the pricing seemed a tad steep. I would have thought that replicating the content from a newspaper for the online experience, as distinct from writing for an online environment, should have resulted in cheaper pricing and easy access.

Channel marketing is really an interesting form of communication and we will look at this type of delivery in later posts.  Suffice to say, I will be looking at the new Fairfax product with a great deal of interest but the sales pitch so far has left me uninspired.

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