IGNITE funding captures insights to advance Aussie publishing

January 18, 2018

Kate Sherington, Digital Business Manager at Pan Macmillan Australia, attended the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in London in 2017, courtesy of a Cultural Fund IGNITE grant.

The digital summit provided her with fresh insights on capturing and exploiting data, which she is already working to integrate.

Kate says, “The main focus of the conference was data, data, data – not just the need to gather and generate high-quality data but to extract genuine insights from the information to reach and understand customers.”

Sherington heard from leading publishing experts such as Bloomsbury, Lonely Planet, The Economist, Time Inc and BBC Worldwide.

Some of the takeout messages included:

  • To evolve from a heritage publishing business: Break the rules, keep the tradition; stay close to your consumer; close the knowledge gap; fail but learn fast.
  • Understand what questions we’re trying to answer – what are you trying to get out of the data? Be clear or you’ll disappear.

“We know there will be changes ahead for the arts and media landscape, as there always have been, but change is happening more quickly than ever,” says Sherington. “If we want Australian creative industries to be robust and thriving well into the future, then it’s important to invest now in the people and tools we’re going to need to tackle that change.”

“Atlantic Books, for example, talked about the importance of investing in data analytics to grow their ebook business, to be able to identify hot sellers and respond with price promotion in real time. The real-world examples presented at the Summit showed how international publishers are experimenting,” Sherington said.

International publishers have greater access to financial and human resources to effect change and to experiment.

“In Australia, we need to embrace the boring-sounding stuff like ‘data’ and recognise that it will support the more intuitive aspects of what we do.”

“The insights gained through this conference have definitely empowered me to promote strategies internally, and to highlight the importance of digital transformation across the company,” says Kate.

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund offers grants to individuals working in publishing, writing and the visual arts to develop their skills and take their careers to the next level, building a strong foundation for Australian creators.

New funding rounds open in January 2018.

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