Online publishing past its peak?

According to The Association of Online Publishers’ (AOP) annual census of revenue growth, online publishing is predicted to be down by 20% this year with a forecasted growth of 31% compared to 52% in 2007.

Despite this forecasted dip, online publishing still fared well compared to business growth in other sectors which is predicted to be 8% for 2008.

The biggest threat for digital publishers, who included BskyB, the Guardian Media Group and The Financial Times, came from competitors – 64% of repsondents sited this as the biggest threat for 2008. The economy came second with 54%, followed by the Google / Double Click deal and government/legal restrictions, both, with 38%.

Since the popularity of video for non-TV platforms, like and the BBC iPlayer, “mobisodes” and increasing “micro” video content has exploded, broadcasters have been forced to cast their nets wider to find the expertise needed to create and maintain web-based content.

Skills and talent sourcing challenges

Nothing illustrates this more than the appointment, in September last year, of Anthony Rose as the new head of digital media technology for the Beeb. Rose is to head up the team developing the next generation of the BBC iPlayer and took over the remit left by the vacant Tom Loosemore, the former web 2.0 project leader. He had previously spent 6 years at music download site Kazaa.

Rose’s appointment is typical of developments where experience is, increasingly, sought out-with the channels of old. According to AOP’s census, digital is set to increase investment in staff this year to accomodate these new platforms. In the light of such specialist work and niche roles pushing up salaries, investment will be definitely be needed in the year to come.

Disruption joined by economic jitters

Currently, as much as 60% of paid-content in online publishing is compiled of special reports and archives. Major newspapers, around the world, are struggling as their old cash cows are disrupted by internet offerings like Craigslist, and unable to compete with the more relevant, targeted advertising delivered by the likes of Google.

Simply put, the availability afforded by technology that lets us consume text, video, animated content the second it’s published, means that bit-delivered content will win time again.

With the economy in choppy waters, and digital industries under multiple pressures, we certainly need to keep tabs on what’s happening! Chinwag has launched a broader, industry-wide monthly survey to canvas professionals in new media about their feelings on current and future market conditions, salary, career opportunities and more.

If you’re in the industry and want to have your views count – take Chinwag’s Digital Pulse survey (just six questions) now and every month: