pv digest: Achieving Digital Distribution Revenue as a Self-Publisher

pv digest is one of Germany’s best sources for in-depth research on media distribution, payment models and paid content. Managing directors, sales managers, reader market managers and product managers in German publishing houses all rely on Markus Schöberl's regular analyses and assessments.

Each 30-page PDF issue of the monthly publication offers insights that publishers can leverage for the further development of their own products and a well-founded classification of the market. The LaterPay team itself is also a regular reader and benefits from Markus Schöberl's expertise. 

pv digest is not only available as a PDF subscription via newsletter, but also as Progressive Web App (PWA) via pv-digest.de and as native app (for iOS, for Android). Running parallel to the subscription, the business model has been expanded to include a single purchase option for entire issues and individual articles.

How does Markus Schöberl, as an author and the publisher, manage to master both his journalistic work and publishing across the various channels? The solution lies in the combined system of ContentConverter, as the publishing platform, and LaterPay as a flexible paywall

The ContentConverter system allows publishers of any size to publish magazine, newspaper and news content easily from their print product or from standard word processing programs. The ContentConverter adapter extracts the content and its structure from file formats such as Adobe InDesign, Quark, PDF and Microsoft Word. After extraction, the ContentConverter CMS publishes the content in templates for the various digital channels: website, PWA, native apps (iOS and Android) and e-reader formats (ePub, mobi).

This enables pv digest to offer all types of revenue models via LaterPay’s integrated flexible paywall: individual purchases (articles and complete issues), time passes (articles and complete issues), subscriptions (complete issues) using either the ‘Pay Later’ or ‘Pay Now’ model.

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The production process - from the source file to the final digital product

pv digest’s goals with the new setup

Markus Schöberl was looking for a way to reach new target groups in order to be able to sell his product beyond the newsletter and to increase his sales reach in digital channels.

It had to be a solution that made it possible to implement these requirements with as little additional work as possible each month, with Microsoft Word serving as the central production tool. As such, it would require:

  • Automated extraction and conversion of all content and essential design elements from Word to XML / HTML;
  • Automated transformation of content and design into templates and apps for desktop and mobile use;
  • Publishing excerpts of all content on pv-digest.de via the WordPress REST API for search engine indexing and advertising via social media and other marketing measures;
  • Making the payment model more flexible to attract users as paying customers for individual items and individual monthly editions;
  • Linking to the existing subscriber database.

Through a joint project, for which LaterPay assumed the integration costs to connect the various publishing components, a system was developed that exactly met these requirements. Schöberl wrote and article assessing the project and the resulting product, which can be found here (in German).

How pv digest works with the new system

As a first step, the ContentConverter adapter was adjusted to suit pv digest’s specific content (text, text structure, picture elements, page structure - including margin column - etc.).

pv-digest-quelldatei-wordpv digest source file in Microsoft Word

After the adapter was uniquely configured, each new output is now automatically converted into a structured XML file, which can then be optimized in the ContentConverter backend system in a short period of time.

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pv digest source file in ContentConverter’s backend system

As soon as the articles are finished in the backend, Schöberl is able to publish them on the website, as PWA and in the native apps through an automated process.

artikelteaser_1119Article teaser on pv-digest.de

Artikel-PWA-und-NativeApp

Article in the PWA and a native App

Schöberl is now able to leverage all the advantages of his digital channels with a lean production process that runs in parallel to his existing PDF newsletter. Highlights include:

  • Integration of the existing subscription system for access to new editions;
  • pv digest-specific design, templates and functions;
  • Optimized reading experience on all platforms and devices (fully responsive, high-resolution image data);
  • Presence in all relevant digital channels;
  • Flexible payment models with individual purchases of articles and complete editions via LaterPay;
  • Full control over all aspects of content and business model;
  • All the existing opportunities for digital marketing (SEO, SEA, social media, link-sharing, newsletters, etc.).

LaterPay and ContentConverter

The LaterPay system enables publishers to easily build a new paid content business at a low cost while also making it as easy as possible for users to pay for quality content. The entire LaterPay was therefore just as satisfied with the results and the cooperation as Schöberl and his colleagues from ContentConverter.

"For the mobile presentation of pv digest, it was very important to me to retain the central product features of the monthly edition, such as the margin column, which allows my customers to quickly read across the page.  For the first time, the ContentConverter system offered me a practical solution in every respect. In combination with LaterPay, I can now offer pv digest on multiple channels and at individually reasonable prices."
Markus Schöberl, Author and Publisher, pv digest

"The adjustments to the specific requirements of pv digest's business models were quickly and easily implemented by the ContentConverter team with the help of LaterPay’s platform. The integration into our CMS and the use in our serverless PWA solution went smoothly."
Jens Deward, Managing Director ContentConverter, a product of YourFundi GmbH & Co. KG


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Further information about ContentConverter can be found here.