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Business models to monetize publishing in the digital era. At TOC, you’re as likely to run into media professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators as you are publishers, booksellers and others working in traditional publishing.

Business models to monetize publishing in the digital era

This, in turn, makes the underlying themes as varying and diverse as the attendees. This is the third in a series, taking a look at five themes that permeated interviews, sessions and/or keynotes at this year’s show. The complete series will be posted here. As traditional publishing is more and more disrupted in the digital era and deeper and deeper discounts in digital publishing become the norm, big questions about revenues — and where they’ll come from — arise.

Monetization was a major theme at this year’s Tools of Change for Publishing conference. In a keynote address, Andrew Savikas, CEO at Safari Books Online, talked about lessons learned at Safari and why digital subscriptions and access models matter for publishers. He broke down the payment model and explained how — and why — it can be profitable. Related: The rebirth of reading. Back in 2005, we – well, more accurately I – made a mistake.

The rebirth of reading

My reasoning went like this: The Economist fills a need in people’s lives; that need is not going away; people’s media consumption is shifting online; if we position The Economist to fulfil the same need online that it meets in print we’ll have a powerful basis for continued success. So we researched how people were doing online what they previously used The Economist for in print. But we found that, regardless of age or geography, people weren’t shifting that part of their life online. The immersive, metaphorically and literally “lean-back” reading experience whereby intellectually curious people feed their insatiable curiosity about the world in their desire to be well and broadly informed about current affairs, business, science, technology, culture and the arts and the connections between them – that was staying in print and not moving online.

UNIT4, a sleeping giant. This week I attended UNIT4's UK user conference as a paid speaker.

UNIT4, a sleeping giant

I was more than glad to do so because it gave me the opportunity to help showcase customer success and innovation. The show lived up to my expectations and was one of the best user conferences I've attended in a very long time. I'll explain why later. Anyhoo...UNIT4? Who? Long story short, UNIT4, based out of the Netherlands is an ERP vendor that reported $555 million for 2010. I first came across CODA and Agresso around 1996-7 when they were independent companies. What I didn't know until this week is that in Sweden, they have 150,000 users in 170 separate organisations of which 150 are government bodies, running ERP in a single instance.

UNIT4 doesn't see that as anything special because it claims to have been running shared services for customers since 1998. One example of how this works comes from GO: What struck me in the conversations was the pragmatic nature of the deployments. The Rise of the New Groupthink. Making-Social-Media-Pay. Ross Dawson on opportunities for business and society in a hyper-connected world.

The Future of Journalism – by Ross Dawson.