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How A Database Of Publishing Startups Signals The New Competition

A database of publishing startups shows that the average launch is valued at $3.6 million. The same database also shows how broadly investors are thinking about what constitutes “publishing.” Particularly in areas like service and commerce, new publishing competitors are emerging from this current crop of startups. tracks investments in a variety of sectors, including publishing. The parent group is “media”; siblings include comics, content, digital media, film and news. Publishing has a sole child: “writers”.

A publishing colleague, Kat Meyer, connected me to the site. tracks startups based on when they first appeared, the number of followers for each startup and what it calls “signal” – a measure of investor interest.

Even a limited review of the listed companies shows how much our sense of “publishing” has changed. Looking at the 19 companies added this month, the descriptions included:

This short list illustrates two things about content-driven businesses: a growing focus on content as a service; and an increasingly explicit coupling of content and commerce.

Even the startups that identify themselves as “publishing” could be considered commerce. Their descriptions include “Innovative footwear and philanthropy” and “Discover Real Beauty World Just 1 Click Through”.

Traditional publishing companies have noticed the growing importance of commerce and service, as well. Fashion marketplace Keaton Row disclosed that Time Inc. was the lead investor in its series A capital raise. A statement from Evelyn Webster, a Time Inc. EVP, noted:

“Keaton Row’s peer-to-peer social commerce model matches our sensibility and will open up an arrary of e-commerce opportunities. We are excited to explore how our premium content can enhance the Keaton Row Marketplace and help fuel the growth of its business.”

As the investments illustrate, our sense of publishing has broadened. Increasingly, publishing will embrace service and commerce as it competes against an expanding list of established and new companies.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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