Digital publishing groups constantly struggle to navigate and scale in such a labor-intensive business involving real journalists and high quality content in a sea of consumer and advertiser choices nowadays. Publishing groups look for authentic blogs and communities with direct audiences that are highly branded to acquire and then work hard to deliver the promise of increasing value through economies of scale, sales margin, network effect, and etc.
Easier said than done when you consider the pre-acquisition individual owner/operator is the captain who is solely focused on that single publication – passionately working on their “baby” and fighting to optimize traffic/revenue obsessively in order to pay for the home/office lease, health insurance and coffee supply at 2 a.m. in pajamas. The publishing group needs a whole lot of process and operational acumen to effectively yield better results during business hours. (Any roll-up, whether it’s digital publishers, dental offices, or mobile apps, will likely have similar challenges.)
Dropping acquired pubs into a portal platform that channelizes the acquired publisher’s brand and starts pushing audiences and advertising around and powering the content with shared resources and licenses and templates sounds like a good idea (to a banker). But that’s the best way to kill authenticity and audience. Experience will help weather the storm, but when it comes to scaling look and feel among multiple publications (and even multiple page types in single publications), TechCrunch just published an article here covering new technology and thinking to address those choppy waters.