Digital Minds debates subscription model

Digital Minds debates subscription model

Publishers should not question whether there is a demand for subscription services, but how big an opportunity subscription can provide, HarperCollins' group strategy and digital director Nick Perrett [pictured] has said.

Speaking at a session at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference held yesterday (7th April) Perrett said HarperCollins, which has partnered with subscription service Scribd, wanted to be at the vanguard when it came to new developments.

"I struggle to think of a vertical of the media industry where there is not a subsection of consumers who wouldn't want to interact in that way [via subscription]," he said. "I think it's difficult to find a segment of consumers who wouldn't pay. Then it's about what is the right package to offer so that they will pay.

"I don't think the question is 'is there demand?', I think it is 'how big of an opportunity is this?' Can it be set up in such a way that it's valuable to authors and publishers?'"

Perrett said for publishers subscriptions services were about discovery, reach, royalties for authors and data. He said the predominant model was "moving away from trade orientated to a consumer structure".

Andrew Weinstein, v.p. of content acquisition at Scribd, said the benefits of his company to publishers were clear, as Scribd became an "additional sales channel".

"We are a way to reach a consumer who is not reading or purchasing through a store," he added. He also said that Scribd had not "cannibalised" publishers sales through other retailers.

Andrew Savikas from Safari Online said data enabled his company to sit down with publishers and tell them what users were searching for, which enabled publishers to tailor their offering.

The panel was chaired by Rebecca Smart of Osprey.