INDEPENDENT NEWS

Traditional Publisher Makes Money On The Internet

Published: Thu 10 May 2001 04:11 PM
Well known tax, business and legal publisher CCH New Zealand has developed a valuable new revenue stream by launching a new online question and answer service.
"Rather than just putting traditional products up online, we are harnessing the interactive nature of the web to give customers what they want ? answers to their every day questions." says CCH's new leader, publishing director Sharon Bennett.
The CCH Question and Answer Service enables subscribers to ask tax, company, employment and business law questions via the company's website, www.cch.co.nz. CCH's team of inhouse experts craft an individual answer and email it to the subscriber within 24 hours.
Sharon Bennett says the online service is a natural extension of the products the company already offers.
"It supplements our core business of providing tax, business and legal information to New Zealand businesses and advisors. However we are not just delivering the same information in a new media as many publishers have done, we are customising it to suit the demands of the online world."
The service answers a wide range of issues from simple compliance questions to more complex legal queries.
Ms Bennett says it has already proven especially valuable for people who want a second opinion or to verify an answer.
"We've been getting extremely positive feedback from our subscribers. Many of them are accountants in small to medium-sized firms who want to double check their solution to a particular issue, or seek information in an area such as employment law where they are not experts."
Ms Bennett says the CCH Q & A service is not designed to replace the functions offered by legal and accountancy firms, but aims to answer questions that people would not feel comfortable in bothering a specialist adviser with.
CCH has 10 in-house analysts as well as consultants including Russell McVeagh tax partner Fred Ward, GST expert Alastair McKenzie, Denham Martin of Denham Martin and Associates, employment law specialist Tony Kurta and Massey University health and safety specialist Associate Professor Douglas Hay.
"While we don't advise on strategy, we do outline planning issues and signal when people should seek specialist advice," says Ms Bennett. "In future, we may source this advice if that's what our customers want."
She also says as part of the global publishing network Wolters Kluwer, CCH New Zealand may also extend the online advice service to cover trans-Tasman and other international issues, as these are becoming increasingly important to many of CCH's customers.
The engine for the online service is another example of a New Zealand initiative leading the way for a multi-national company. The concept and technology behind it was developed in-house at CCH New Zealand and it has already been adopted by CCH Australia, where it is currently being trialled.
Ms Bennett says the service has the added value of telling them what's important to their customers.
"We can analyse the questions we're receiving, look at what topics we're getting the most questions on and tailor our publications accordingly, which means we'll be even more in tune with what our subscribers want."
To subscribe to CCH's Q and A service costs just $400 per quarter or $1200 per year (+ GST). Each week, a Question of the Week is selected and the question and its answer are emailed to all subscribers, thus increasing their knowledge base.
-ends-
Issued on behalf of CCH New Zealand by Professional Public Relations

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