Three ways print publishers can make easy money from digital editions - Spotpass
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December 16, 2021
4 minutes

Three ways print publishers can make easy money from digital editions

Digital print editions and replicas are a gold mine of new revenue for news and magazine publishers. I’ve spoken to over 100 print publishers across Australia and here is what I learnt.

Although the traffic for digital editions is generally lower compared to online content, they do represent some of the highest value content you have to offer – and readers will pay. But how do you start charging for access in a simple, cost-effective way that won't impact the reader experience?

As part of building the initial network of publishers offering Spotpass, I've spoken to dozens of print publishers about this very opportunity. From daily newspapers to monthly magazines, here are my top 3 ways to monetise the goldmine of content that is your digital editions, back issues, or replicas:

1. Embed them on your own site

Never send your audience away to a third-party platform to read your content! If you take one thing away from this post – this is it. Embed your digital edition PDFs on your own website.

Embedding PDFs opens up the complete suite of monetisation options:

  • Programmatic advertising
  • Registration wall (regi-wall)
  • Subscription paywall
  • Micropayments / pay-per-edition

Not only can you generate more revenue by keeping readers on-site, but you deepen their engagement with your content and learn about their behaviours. This is the beauty of digital editions – readers will spend more time on this single page reading the digital edition than any other content on your site.

Pro tip: if you are using Issuu or other plugins like Flipsnack, embed their reader onto your page. Spotpass is providing a free tool for publishers to charge readers for digital edition access when you embed PDFs on your site.

Contact us to find out more.


2. Make them available to non-subscribers

At first, you want to lock up your digital editions behind a paywall to add further value to your subscription offering. These all-access subscriptions are great for your highly-engaged readers, but it also means you're missing out on a very large audience of casual readers who want access to your digital editions and won’t ever subscribe. This is lost revenue.

These casual readers are likely searching for something specific and discovering your content through Google search where you have authority as a publisher and an incredible content library of back issues and past editions.

Giving non-subscribers a way to browse and access this content can unlock some serious incremental revenue and feed new users into your subscription funnel.

Here are a few ways to monetise your casual readers:

  • Put up a registration wall to access your back issues so you’re capturing user data and feeding them into your subscription funnel.
  • Offer a way to purchase individual editions through your existing paywall or by using Spotpass – you can see this in action now on the Times News Group.
  • Create a freemium offering (or low-cost digital edition subscription) that provides full access to your digital editions with a free trial, then upsell into the core digital subscription.


3. Extract the high-value content and republish it online

Print content is generally required to have a longer shelf-life than content published online and demands a higher level of quality and credibility than most online publishing. Unfortunately for most publishers, this treasure trove of evergreen content only exists in PDFs and won’t surface in Google search results.

One of the simplest ways to monetise your digital editions is to pull some of your best content out from the archives and republish it online.

Making this content searchable attracts readers from all walks of life – government, researchers, policymakers, enthusiasts and community members – who all need a credible source for their specific query and are prepared to pay for it.

Start by republishing a few pieces of high-value content from past editions and experiment with different ways to monetise it.

Most readers will discover the content through search, allowing you to try a regi-wall on this content, or charging for individual article access either using your existing paywall or with Spotpass – we’ll even help you get some of the content online to try it out.

Whether it’s a replica of today’s paper, digital print editions, back issues, past editions or any other high-value content in your archive, you are sitting on a goldmine and now is the time to tap into it.

Spotpass is helping publishers monetise their digital editions and evergreen content with a simple, no-fuss micropayment solution. Find out how Spotpass can help you generate more revenue from your content by contacting our team - we are ready to help publishers get started.