The publishing world is in the midst of a rebirth. Not only are more and more digital companies turning to print magazines, they are eyeing these magazines as profit centers and not the traditional loss leaders they have been in the past.
“The trend is a 180-degree flip from the typical publisher transition from print to digital: Whereas print publishers have sold their websites as extensions of their print products, today’s digital publishers are creating magazines to supplement their websites,” says Ricardo Bilton in Digiday.
And this time, publishers are taking a new approach, one which is also being embraced by the new owners (themselves digital publishers) behind Newsweek’s return to print.
As Bilton explains, “…rather than eye the big general-interest numbers of Time and Rolling Stone, digital publishers are creating their magazines with lower circulations and content aimed at more niche audiences. “
“Pitchfork only produced 10,000 copies of the winter edition of its magazine, and Politico is looking at a 40,000 circulation. In a similar vein, Newsweek, which had a circulation of 3.3 million at its height, is aiming at something closer to 70,000 for its latest incarnation. Lower circulations at higher prices mean that publishers don’t need a massive readership to break even,” says Bilton.
In other words, these publishers are intentionally creating premium products, and charging accordingly, rather than treating their magazines as circulation-boosting throw-aways to raise the ad rates.
This, my friends, is a renaissance for our industry: Create the magazines for the readers who will purchase them and the advertisers will come.
It’s time we stop blaming the medium (print) for our business failures. Publishers are embracing what Pando’s Paul Carr calls the “innate gravitas of print” to create something that readers want, something they’ll savor and hang on it.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for companies to rethink their relationship with print, with their readers, with their advertisers and with their bottom line.