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How Can Content Delivery Networks Help Digital Publishing Houses?

The emergence of what is called digital publishing has created a storm in the publishing world as users now demand super-fast customized reading experiences available over multiple devices. If you are unable to offer them the requested content at lightning-fast speed, they will soon lose interest and move away.

Along with this development, economics of publishing have undergone many changes with the advent of newer technologies like bots and ad blockers. To be able to satisfy the revenue targets for both subscription income and advertising, it is necessary to reassess the mobile and web content delivery systems. This explains why the digital publishers are now making a beeline for CDNs which can speed up the whole process of content delivery by redirecting the content to edge servers near end-users.

What problems did digital publishing companies face?

The expectation was that with the advancements in web technologies the site performances would also enhance. With the use of more videos and scripts on sites, there has been harmful effects on the site performance especially for the publishing companies which handle very content-rich sites. You will find excellent web performance tools which can help these publishers to improve their page loading times by reducing page weight. Some of these tools are CSS Minifer, HTML Minifer and JavaScript Minifer to reduce script file size, and RIOT for Windows and ImageOptim for Mac to reduce images.

Despite these tools, it was found that the publishers were left with pages which were taking more than three seconds for loading. The truth is that this is not enough to keep your visitors waiting because the average viewer will want the site to load fully in 2 seconds.

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The problem is that when there is no Content Delivery Network or CDN, a site will be forced to offer content from a single static location no matter where the content is being requested from. When requests are being made from a continent and the servers are in another continent miles away, the content is travelling a long distance under the oceans. In comparison, a digital publisher having a CDN will be able to deliver the requested content much faster from a server which is physically closer to the end-user. This is because the CDN will distribute the content all across the globe in multiple servers. Every time content is requested, it will be delivered to the visitor from the closest server. This helps to improve search engine rankings for the site too and accounts for customer satisfaction.

Today’s readers appear to have no tolerance for unsatisfactory site experiences and when the content takes too long to be delivered, they leave the site. Just like the loading speed matters, so does the relevance of this content. Studies have shown that nearly 74% of the consumers will get disappointed when the content is not useful for them.

With digital publishing making its presence felt, print advertisement revenues have also gone down dramatically. It was expected that the digital ad revenues will compensate for this loss but that too failed due to ad blocking technologies. This has caused the digital publishers heavy losses.

Another problem has been the fraudulent traffic created through bots which impersonate real readers. This bot traffic is likely to cause even more severe losses for the digital publishing industry. The fraudulent traffic will slow down rates of conversion and advertisers will not get their returns on investment. So, they will be forced to invest elsewhere. In this way, digital advertising cannot earn revenues till the good and bad traffic can be separated and you can guarantee authentic readers.

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While ad revenues are at an all time low, the paid subscriptions for the premium content have been bringing in revenues. Most publishers have adopted the paid subscription plan and these are positively influencing revenues. They are attracting the young audience too and enhancing advertisement sales. So, if the digital publishers can improve their subscriber experiences, they can earn profits. To do this, edge computing has been roped in.

How has edge computing been of use?

This refers to shifting the business logic from the data center to the edge of your network. CDNs are fulfilling this purpose because they use geographically-distributed servers for caching content. You can thus deliver the content faster instead of routing the requests back to the data center. Edge computing has helped to cut down on infrastructure costs. The requests which go to the data center need many hardware resources like CPU and memory for processing. But when few requests are going back to the origin, you can use the hardware for other tasks; so you get to scale your site without buying extra hardware. Finally, requests can now be processed much faster than ever before with the CDNs. The logic gets processed at the nearest PoP or Point of Presence.

To conclude therefore, the power to update or process requests in real time must be accepted as a basic standard for media sites. Today everything moves so fast that readers demand their content faster. There is no scope for waiting and if you are a media company lacking a CDN, you have yourself to blame for the poor user experience you are offering your readers.

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