SPOTLIGHT: Women In Digital Publishing

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realview image_marchContinuing the celebrations of International Women’s Day this month (March 8), we spoke to some of our leading female publishing clients about their publications, the importance of having a digital presence, their experiences with having this platform offering, as well as where and who they look to for inspiration in today’s publishing world.

When Realview was starting out, we had many businesses interested in our product – a large number of whom where female publishers that have gone on to become some of our longest standing clients.

Their early adoption of our online publication solution has led to us enjoying almost 20 years of successfully realising the benefits of digital publishing together.

Good Reading Magazine went looking for a way to digitise its publication 15 years ago. Led by Rowena Morcom, the magazine was founded as a dedicated way of showcasing great books to ANZ readers, and not long after, the value in having a digital presence was recognised and implemented.

Subscriptions are sold largely to libraries, keeping staff up-to-date on all of the latest releases in a centralised outlet, which is made easier to access with Realview’s ability to allow concurrent subscribers (a function that Rowena drove to have applied as an access solution for Good Reading’s clients).

With many loyal subscribers and renewals, Ms Morcom has seen significant value in having a digital offering and keeping passionate customers engaged.

“We’ve just released a new online hub that brings our digital editions altogether, and offering mobile access is on the cards for the near future,” Ms Morcom says.

For her own inspiration, Ms Morcom looks to Lou Johnson, the highly-regarded publisher and The Author People founder, a disruptive publishing model redefining the relationship between authors and publisher.

Also operating in the business-to-business space is Marilyn Tangye Butler of Ventura Media APAC, publishers of Asian Aviation, Asia Pacific Defence Reporter and Defence Review Asia.

“At the time, I needed to put my magazines into digital format – I looked at many providers and chose Realview.”

The decision was another one made in Realview’s early days, when Marilyn saw how the technology would enable her to send out the magazines in digital format as a complimentary offering to the print editions.

Not only is the digital subscription a more financially viable way to provide access to content in some circumstances, but it’s a way of providing today’s audiences with their preferred method of consuming content. With so much information available, digital offerings are just another way to engage an audience not restricted by the barriers that physical copies sometimes present.

“Having the Realview mobile app means more people can download an issue and have the benefit of keeping it in their library and accessing archived copies whenever they wish. It’s a more appealing way of viewing the content right at their fingertips – without having the hassles of finding physical places to keep all of the magazines.”

Silke Bader is Managing Director of lesbian publication LOTL (Aus), as well as Diva (UK) and Curve (US).

Ms Bader was officially one of Realview’s very first clients, charging at the forefront of Australia’s digital publishing space when an online platform wasn’t the norm.

“It was always important for me to have a digital platform from the beginning,” she says.

She saw the benefits for her readers being able to access LOTL from anywhere, anytime – and to also offer the digital edition as an inexpensive subscription option.

Ms Bader is a huge advocate of using social media to encourage awareness of LOTL and is looking forward to showcasing the magazine as a mobile-friendly version across these networks in the near future.

Amy Hethrington is the editor of The Big Issue Australia, the social enterprise publication that benefits our country’s disadvantaged community by providing an avenue for income. Vendors heavily rely on the print edition as their key selling tool, however the publication’s digital edition is making headway as an avenue for a new customer base.

“The digital edition is really important for us. Like with any publication, we need to be able to be multi-platform. Obviously for us the print will always come first, because that’s the model we have with our vendors. Our vendors need that big magazine on the street that people can see and really respond to.

“But we’ve seen an uptake in the digital edition and it’s helped us to tap into new markets – it’s allowed us to reach customers that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to reach otherwise, for instance those in regional locations or off-shore,” Ms Hethrington says.

The Big Issue’s digital outlet will soon be getting a re-vamp, with the move to Realview’s mobile platform, Partica, “Obviously, that’s where everyone is accessing their news, so using a new and different technology platform will allow us to be able to offer readers and vendors something extra.”

And for Ms Hethrington, inspiration comes from looking to women in the publishing industry such as Antonia Case of womankind magazine fame and industry champions Marina Go and Mia Freedman. In the digital space, it’s Brooke and Monty’s Show and Tell Online that gets her vote.

But it’s those closer to home that provide the real inspiration, “There’s a lot of female vendors and team members here at The Big Issue who inspire us every day when we’re putting together the magazine.”