Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer


Retail and media converge; comtent emerges

Adam Sherman's article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2017

Adam Sherman

Posted on: 03 February 2017

With the shift in consumer trends driving print sales and ad revenue down, it is no secret that publishers are looking for new ways to generate income. One response is to develop a retail (and in particular etail) offering to build on their brand equity and secure future revenues.

It seems to me that while advertising may not be bringing value to consumers, they are looking for more product information, not less. On one hand, the Internet Advertising Bureau UK says that at least 22% of adults use an ad blocker. But, according to Retailing Today, over 80% of consumers are researching online before making a purchase.

The possibility to put offers into the right context within editorial or selling extended editorial content such as books, DVDs or brand merchandise are two of many options publishers have to leverage their brands and content.

By bringing value to both readers and publishers, comtent (commerce-related content) is already a profitable source of revenue for publishers looking to exploit their brands. Daily Mail cruises are reported as having an annual revenue in excess of £5 million. Men’s Health have launched a range of vitamins endorsed by professional sportsmen and Time Inc. UK have recently launched Powder. And with 74% of women saying they want to buy items they have seen in a magazine or an app, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan have introduced shoppable content.

However, eCommerce presents particular challenges as well as opportunities. Whether publishers are offering single product sales, branded merchandise or rewards from a loyalty programme, there is still a need to physically deliver these products. Publishers thus need to consider both domestic and international fulfilment and distribution solutions.

My experience working with eCommerce clients as well as publishing ones, has reassured me that the importance of having a trusted distribution partner cannot be overemphasised. Time and time again, I hear from new etail clients how late deliveries, careless product handling, poor returns management and limited parcel traceability from their previous suppliers have caused serious damage to their brand’s reputation. Of course, this reputation can be saved - something I have seen first-hand with our clients. But such damage does take a lot of time and investment to undo. Therefore, my one piece of advice for publishers branching out into the eCommerce market would be to invest time and careful attention in getting your logistics solutions right the first time round to avoid damage-limitation later.

As an industry, we are witnessing the early stages of retail and media convergence; a trend which, I believe, will continue to gather pace. As this new market matures, interesting and profitable opportunities to build on the heritage of your media brand are there for the taking. In terms of distribution, you have a partner in Air Business with the expertise to help you grasp these new opportunities.

“By bringing value to both readers and publishers, comtent (commerce-related content) is already a profitable source of revenue.”

About Adam Sherman
(Details last updated: 3 February 2016)

Adam Sherman is managing director of Air Business Group, the global mail, distribution, fulfilment and integrated subscriptions management bureau. Established in 1986, Air Business has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of An Post, the Irish Post Office, since 2002. Air Business is a strategic partner of the PPA.

Tel: 01727 890 610

Email: Send a message to this author


Twitter: @AirBusinessLtd

comments powered by Disqus

Most read on InPublishing

These are the most read stories on the InPublishing website over the last 14 days, in order from the top.


Woodland Group acquires COMAG Forward

Posted on: 20 September 2017

Wallpaper* Announces Senior Team Changes

Posted on: 13 September 2017

New Weekly Newspaper For Oldham

Posted on: 15 September 2017

Readly accelerates international expansion

Posted on: 15 September 2017

Angry newsagents say Enough’s Enough

Posted on: 19 September 2017

Egmont launches Glitch Magazine

Posted on: 5 September 2017

Euromoney looks to sell Hong Kong division

Posted on: 11 September 2017


My Publishing Life – Jon Bickley

Jon Bickley
Posted on: 13 September 2017

The Changing Landscape of Subscriptions Management

Alan Weaver
Posted on: 27 July 2017

James Wildman – Q&A

James Wildman
Posted on: 19 September 2017

Digital magazines are back!

Ranj Begley
Posted on: 31 July 2017

How to sell more copies

James Evelegh
Posted on: 27 July 2017

My Publishing Life - Susan Duffin

Susan Duffin
Posted on: 22 August 2017

Putting culture first

Meg Carter
Posted on: 27 July 2017

Rediscovering print

James Evelegh
Posted on: 31 August 2017

Hang in there

James Evelegh
Posted on: 14 September 2017

Fishing magazines

Alan Geere
Posted on: 27 July 2017

This list is based on data from Google Analytics, and is refreshed every 24 hours. (Last updated: 25/09/2017 06:45)

Find out more about

Featured job

Newstrade Marketing Manager - Conde Nast
Salary: Competitive
Peterborough / London

Featured in InPublishing Jobs

InPub Weekly: Sign-up

Click here to sign up for our free weekly email newsletter:

Sign up now!

Magazine registration

Publishing Partners Guide