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Publishing Profitability Survey Shows Mix of Optimism, Naiveté

Publishers today have surprisingly little knowledge of which and how many third-party companies – such as Google, advertising vendors and others – are accessing and profiting from their user and audience data. That was one of the results revealed today in the Cxense Publishing Profitability Survey. The survey of more than 380 qualified US publishing executives, conducted by Cxense in conjunction with Editor and Publisher magazine, showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents simply do not know who accesses their audience data. Additional data points after the jump.

Key Survey Statistics

  • 78% of publishers admit to having no knowledge of which and how many third-party companies are accessing their user/audience data
  • 34% of publishers don’t think ad revenues will ever surpass the all-time high of 2005; 60% think it will take 2-10 years to exceed that level
  • 89% of publishers expect their company’s digital revenues will grow during the next 12 months, with ad sales ranking as the top reason why at 62%
  • 40% of respondents list smart phones as the most prominent platform for accessing content; 34% list print as the least prominent.
  • 47% of respondents currently have a paid digital subscription to a newspaper; 37% say they would consider paying for subscriptions while more than 15% said they would not consider a paid digital subscription.


Drew is the founder and president of the Book Corps, an interactive consulting firm focused on providing publishers and content producers with solutions for digital strategy and product development. Since 2003, Drew has been at the forefront of digital content production and focuses​s​ on creating frictionless, end-to-end production and distribution pipelines. In addition Drew sets a high-bar for defining the role of user experience within eReading product development and ​as a product developer, ​challenges publishers to hold the same levels of innovation that app and website developers have maintained for over 10 years. In his current role, Drew directs digital strategy, oversees key accounts and makes sure that the agency remains ahead of the digital publishing curve. Drew has worked with authors, publishers and content developers such as Macmillan, Scholastic, Pearson, Nickelodeon, and Genealogical as well as retail channels like Apple, B&N, and Amazon to define the future of digital reading. He takes pride in seeing his efforts over the shoulders of thousands of commuters daily.

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