Blog Post

The new digital newsstand: Enabling “pass-along” — and saying no sometimes

Liz Schimel, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, Meredith National Media Group

The biggest challenge for a media company like Meredith is shifting the focus from customer acquisition to customer engagement across platforms, Meredith chief digital officer Liz Schimel said at paidContent 2012 this morning.

Part of that means making the brands available on the right platforms, but not all of them. “We get approached by a lot of companies and say no,” Schimel said. “HP (s hpq) knocked on the door, and we said no, we’re not going to do that one.” Most of Meredith’s readers are “mass-market women,” so if a platform or device is “too male-centric or too niche, we don’t do it.”

Nick Bogaty, Adobe’s (s adbe) director of business development for the digital publishing group, says Adobe’s main goal in the next five years is to “enable publishers to continue to drive paid circulation and make this an attractive platform for advertisers. … That’s the key thing we’re trying to solve as a technology provider.” Adobe recently worked with Wenner Media to create the first iPad edition of “Us Weekly.” The company noticed a lot of people left copies of the celebrity gossip magazine on planes, and other people picked them up. So Adobe built “pass-along” features into Us Weekly’s digital edition. Readers can share a web version of the digital magazine — and their friends can sample it before hitting a paywall.

Barnes & Noble’s (s bks) Jonathan Shar, GM of digital newsstand and emerging content, says more consumers want “an edition that’s customized for a platform,” taking factors like screen size into account. Barnes & Noble has found that the best way to do that is often through PDFs with additional features — like adjustable type size — layered on top to customize a digital edition for a Nook tablet or Nook iPhone app.

Check out the rest of our coverage of paidContent 2012. Full archived video on livestream (registration required).