The former Launch Editor of BBC GoodHomes, Tara Kaushal is now the Co-Founder of HeavenandHome.com, an ecommerce portal and magazine for the home.
In the media, there is this great preoccupation with the question of how to monetize content in a knowledge economy. With the internet, the proliferation of cheap and free content and piracy has been seen as a threat to traditional publishing, print, films and other media, eating in to readership and advertisers' budgets. While the publishing industry got a shot in the arm starting with the Harry Potter series and the Kindle has allowed it to become form-independent, many magazines and newspapers are yet to navigate the not-so-new internet-based environment.
Content and E-Commerce, A Happy Marriage
In my analysis, there are two ways to monetize content in a healthy and sustainable way in the future. The first way is through the pairing of content and ecommerce. This is what we've done with HeavenandHome.com, the ecommerce portal and magazine for the home that I've co-founded. On this niche home decor site, the active online magazine provides an ambience for the home decor products we sell. Here content is inspiration, a so-called whetting of the palate, for ecommerce.
The magazine keeps readers engaged and active, and it is rewarding to see the feedback and accurate Google Analytics tell you how many lakh people have read your latest article!
Medium-Independent Content Goes Big
The second, a more organic and common option, requires nothing more than a change in mindset. Instead of believing we are magazine/ TV/ newspaper/ web companies, we need see that the web no longer allows for those distinctions. Instead, we must all be tech-forward, selling "branded content to communities" (to quote Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media), independent of the medium, across form.
The same content can reach people via TV, radio, the web, on iPad apps, the works. Where reader and viewers are just inflated numbers quoted for advertising pitches, an actively engaged audience, plugged in through different media, generates more advertising avenues and returns, of course, but is also paying for the inherent worth of the content and brand. The focus on consumer-generated revenue will decrease the traditional (unhealthy) dependence on advertising income, and will invariably lead to better quality content all around.
I'm hoping to see such a holistic, mature approach to content spread in the Indian media.
About the author:
After a brief stint at the leading National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, Tara* Kaushal pursued BA (Hons) in English from Jesus and Mary College in Delhi University, where she was a college topper. At 24, she became the Launch Editor of BBC GoodHomes. She quit after four years, to become a home stylist and started HeavenandHome.com, an ecommerce portal and magazine for home, and Bamarang.in for various other products.