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I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

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Monetizing Your Media Assets Beyond Advertising
by: Jaffer Ali
(Originally Published: January 21, 2011)

There's gold in those hills somewhere. How do I mine it?
--CEO Charles Townsend, Conde Nast (July, 2010)

It is no secret that publishers of every ilk have been under attack, though some might suggest it's less of an attack and more of a self-immolation. Be that as it may, online or offline, the same old, same old just seems to prevail with an overwhelming majority.

Yes, there is the delusional foray into the pay wall envisioned by the Murdoch/Brill contingency. But the vast majority of publishers out there remain one-trick ponies. What is that pony's name? Advertising.

How many revenue streams does Huffington Post have?

How many revenue streams does The Chicago Tribune have?

How many revenue streams does The Drudge Report have?

The folks who most easily could have competed with the likes of Groupon and Living Social were those local newspapers that already had boots on the ground treading the local-business landscape. Substantial revenue streams could have been created by the simple cross-pollination of existing relationships with vendors and readers.

But they sat on their hands, allowing "business as usual" to prevail and failing to explore, let alone leverage, the potential of their asset-rich market equity. Only now, pressed against the wall as they are, do we see the beginnings of change. It may be only a faint glimmer, but a forest fire begins with a single spark.

Among those articulating the wisdom and reasoning behind a push to monetize legacy media assets is Charles Townsend, CEO of the media conglomerate, Conde Nast:

"I'm charging [the new executive team] with leading the company in the creation of a new [business] model, which is technology enabled, consumer-centric and [concerned with] the monetization of that [consumer] relationship."

Case in point: The NY Times has created a wine club to monetize the cultivated audience that wants and reads what they have to offer.

Media owners must become more self-reliant. This means moving beyond just selling advertising. If publishers understood that relationships with their audiences SHOULD be more expansive and inclusive, a whole new world of possibilities would open to them.

This can be extremely empowering once a publisher begins to understand the potential embodied in those relationships. A lot of NY Times' readers apparently like wine, hence a wine club that not only satisfies the audience, but which spawns any number of synergistic business opportunities.

We are in an age of joint marketing alliances. If media owners are not exploring deeper ways in which to monetize the "consumer relationship" as Charles Townsend suggests, they are leaving a lot of money on the table.

I am not saying that every media owner has to rush out and do a slew of CPA (Cost Per Action) deals. But they should be building databases of hand raisers for different verticals. In so doing they will find business partners that share and inspire the sensibilities of their audience; be it wine, clothes, daily deals for products, or travel.

This involves viewing one's audience in a multi-dimensional manner. These people don't just consume media. They purchase wine, cars, go out to dinner, buy insurance and more. There are a multitude of categories that fit every type of audience profile. The trick is to match your audience with the right partner, a process that begins the moment you realize that business as usual is not the answer and allow yourself to wonder what could be.


Original Article: Monetizing Your Media Assets Beyond Advertising

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