New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Future Trends: Digital Content in Higher Ed

"Successful companies will be
those that innovate aggressively
and think in terms of revolution.
This will mean taking greater risks
and looking at much more
rapid product cycles."

I caught a post by Stephen Abram with data about digital textbook sales that took me to a great blog called Xplanation. Great info! This piece by Rob Reynolds lists the nine trends they are currently tracing with regards to digital content in Higher Education.

  1. The increased disaggregation of content and the breaking up of the traditional textbook model — The movement toward disaggregated content has been seriously afoot ever since iTunes appeared and we started talking about songs instead of albums. We see this happening increasingly in education as digital capabilities allow us to take content apart easily and remix it into new, personal/custom collections. Today, we still think of the “disaggregation” of textbooks as breaking them into chapters. Within five years we will see all learning content as disaggregated learning pieces that can be reassembled as we want/need.

  2. A proliferation of e-content and e-learning apps that support content disaggregation and new product models — Apps are big and going to become even more important. What we think of as a textbook today could very well become an app that serves as a simple framework for receiving mashed up or subscribed content (much like some magazines are starting to do with their apps). As apps become one of the dominant Internet content/function formats, learning content will be converted to this new paradigm and lose many of the trappings formally associated with print products.

  3. A merging of the current rental market and the e-textbook market — The rental market addresses two important realities of the current textbook universe — cost and real need. Rental programs provide textbooks at a lower cost and give them to students for the amount of time that they really need them (approximately one semester). This disruptive model will, in turn, itself be disrupted by publishers who realize that short-term subscription licenses for digital products can be offered at even lower prices and meet the same temporal need. Better yet, there will be no used textbook market. In the end, current rental players will move to digital products to compete with publisher offerings.

  4. A wide range of license/subscription models designed to respond to consumer demands around price and ownership — Related to the previous trend, digital content providers will look to diversify consumer options through tiered subscription/licensing models that include: 1) filtrate subscription models (monthly or yearly) at the discipline or subject level); 2) short term license models for individual products (90-120 days); 3) longer term license models that range from one year to perpetual.

  5. The growth of Open Education Resource (OER) repositories — OERs will continue to proliferate on the Web and more and more companies will offer aggregation and delivery services related to that content. Today, “a record label can generate the same revenue from a combination of free and high-quality, high-status products for it’s true fans as it used to be able to do by offering the same product at the same price to everyone.” (The future of media, in 45 minutes). This is also the future of educational publishing.

  6. The development of a common XML format for e-textbooks, shared by all publishers and educational technology players — With regards to education, enhanced products with embedded media and interactivities remain an significant product model. In order for publishers and institutions to be able to scale production of these products, however, the community will need to agree on a common format that makes production efficient and cost effective. Look for this to be a modified ePub format with a standard DTD that can be extended by each user, and that can be supported by e-reader software and devices.

  7. The importance of devices and branded devices – Within two years we will see powerful tablets that cost the same as e-readers (between $100-$150). At this price point, tablets will become the primary technology accessory for many students and the principal device for accessing and interacting with learning content. We will see institutions providing branded versions of these tablets to students with pre-loaded content, and publishers will market their content with pre-loaded tablet options at the enterprise level.

  8. The development of e-commerce and new product ecosystems that challenge the traditional college bookstore — The use of online retail options by students will continue to grow and, unless there is a dramatic change in identification and/or marketing, college bookstores could be left our in the cold by the change in purchasing cultures. Just as universities and colleges save money by opting to have Google or Microsoft host their e-mail and office apps, we will likely see many institutions opt for outsources textbook e-commerce with major players like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  9. A move from evolution to innovation and revolution — The traditional mantra in Higher Education publishing is that it is an industry that grows through evolution as opposed to revolution. As more players enter this arena from different related markets, however, successful companies will be those that innovate aggressively and think in terms of revolution. This will mean taking greater risks and looking at much more rapid product cycles.

No comments: