CNET reported yesterday that Hearst Magazine President David Carey said that he expects to reach a million digital subscribers by the end of 2012, due in large part to the success of Apple’s iPad and the ease of the new-to-iOS 5 Newsstand. Hearst initially resisted selling its titles on the iPad, insisting Apple’s revenue cut was too big. Now it seems that both companies are benefitting.
Hearst currently has about 400,000 digital subscribers across all its decices, including the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble nook. Hearst publishes 19 of its titles digitally, including Popular Mechanics, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire.
Joe Aimonetti concludes his article on CNET by stating that magazines and the print industry in general have been under extreme pressure over the last couple years as tablet computing and smartphone usage has dominated media consumption. Finding partners like Apple to continue selling their content at a reasonable profit should be high on any print company’s list.
Time Inc., with a collective readership of over 114 million readers, has the largest crossover of included publishers, Folio reported yesterday. Its 18 brands are read in both print and digital forms by 30% of its demographic, 55% only use its print products, while 15% digitally access Time Inc. content.
These findings, from Affinity’s recent American Magazine Study, were part of a larger study of cross-platform readers. Overall, the company found that cross-platform readers are on the rise for consumer magazines. The study tracked 12 magazine publishing brands, with audience consumption behaviors categorized by print-only, digital-only, and print and digital readers. Affinity stated that for the purposes of this study, digital engagement includes websites, social networks, mobile devices and other digital delivery.
The largest digital-only readership goes to Wenner Media (publisher of Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Man’s Journal), with 27%. Additionally, 55% of Wenner readers only use print products, while 18% of its 33.5 million readers utilize print and digital content.
Reader’s Digest has the smallest amount of digital only readers: 6% of its audience rely solely on digital content, with 85% still using just print products. 9% of 45.3 million readers reportedly use both.
Below is a list of some of the findings.
This past October, The Atlantic took the bulk of its advertising revenue from online sources when for the first time the magazine’s digital advertising revenue exceeded its print revenue. The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters reported that publishing industry executives said they were not aware of any examples of a brand as prominent as The Atlantic achieving such a rare transition.
The publisher of The Atlantic, Jay Lauf, stated that in 2008 digital revenue was just 9% of the company’s total ad revenue. In October, the split was 51% digital, 49% print. The Atlantic expects to make about $18.6 million from advertising this year, or slightly more than half of its total revenue. However, the company said the growth in its online share of business was not because of a decline in the share of print revenue; it sold more ads in the October issue of the magazine than it had in any other issue since 1999.
For the last few years, The Atlantic has undergone a gradual evolution from magazine publisher to a multimedia company with a collection of successful websites that also happens to put out a magazine once a month.
According to Peters of The New York Times, many magazine executives see their advertising business gradually relying more and more on digital revenue even if few of their companies are as far along as The Atlantic. But getting there will most likely take a lot longer for others than it did for The Atlantic, which is smaller and has lower advertising rates compared with other publications in the so-called thought leader category like The New Yorker.
Over the last five months, Quantcast measured global monthly visitors to TheAtlantic.com at 5.4 million — 3.6 million of them in the United States. That is more than The Daily Beast’s 3.3 million monthly domestic visitors, but less than Time.com’s 9.1 million, according to Quantcast. Monthly domestic traffic to The Atlantic Wire is another 1.3 million visitors.
Folio reported earlier this month on the Digital Summit at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, where three digital publishing executives offered their insights into social sharing tips, sponsored apps and more. The three executives were John Haskin, VP digital sales and marketing with Bonnier; SVP/GM digital food platform at Meredith Dan Hickey; and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s SVP of digital Missy Forestall. Here’s their advice:
1. Spend money to make money.
· Invest wisely in measurement tools to enable yourself to play “digital Darwinism”
· Measure ideas at the end of execution, and then start feeding what’s working for you, and kill what’s not.
2. Take advantage of Facebook.
· Use social content to support earned / owned media platforms
· Leverage the new Facebook analytics, especially “people are talking about this” for better social / website integrations.
· Think about content development, and who is developing that content
· There are two types of online editorial teams: those who specialize in getting increase page views for the month, and those who create content that encourages sharing.
3. Marketers + Social Networking = more fans: Include marketers into social networking to pull advertisers into conversations on Facebook and help clients drive fans, in other words, “socialize the brand.”
4. Boomerang Affect
· Collaborate across all business units to create a marketing “boomerang affect” among all entities
· Work to get audiences to transfer from one platform to another, generating traffic and buzz for contests, articles, etc.
5. Sponsorships: develop partnerships that create multi-site and offline content areas that can be sold as sponsorships
· Get into the “intent” business by finding out what users are planning to do in the immediate future and create value for them.
· When dissecting the traditional marketing funnel, magazines and brand awareness are at the top of the funnel.
7. Partner with Key Advertisers
· Match app content to advertisers’ needs, so you can lead digitally without financial risk.
· Partnering with key advertisers allows publishers to take those risks in digital space.
· Use content syndication to drive large sponsorships and traffic back to your site.
· Being able to build a big syndication deal into an overall deal makes partners feel like their content will be spread more.
9. “Bottom Funnel” Opportunities
· Find bottom of the funnel opportunities around the most actionable parts of your site. Surface “transactionable” activities to advertisers. This breaks down to offering opportunities around where he customer is engaged, like in a site’s search engine.
10. Greater Speed to Market
· Have a nimble CMS: greater speed to market leads to more innovation. It also allows for more flexibility with advertisers.
11. Identify high value lifetime customers on your sites and create new revenue streams via lead generation.
12. Publisher to User Communication
· Monetize you registration path. Co-registration and Captcha are easy ways to add incremental revenue streams. A publisher needs to register and understand users, making sure there’s a good match in registered consumers.
· David Hickey noted that what you’re offering has to have an affinity to what you do as a brand – Meredith gains 5-7 million registrations on an annual base.
13. Data Tools
· Explore new data overlay tools that help develop online GRPs to compare your web programs with TV programming. It allows team members to make an apple-to-apple comparison of audiences.
Mini-magazines known as “Zines” are making a comeback from the 1930s, when the emerged among fans of science fiction and from informal, and in the 60’s from underground publications that focused on social and political activism. Zines are generally made by hand and are available only in small quantities, though they are now talked about, distributed or sold on the Web as well. The quirky industry touches on almost everything, with topics as varied as local food, art, short fiction, music reviews and comics.
Why are these suddenly becoming a popular item? The New York Times reported “the zine is enjoying something of a comeback among the Web-savvy, partly in reaction to the ubiquity of the Internet. Their creators say Zines offer a respite from the endless onslaught of tweets, bog posts, I.M.’s, e-mail and other products of digital media.” The article notes that most Zines spring from side projects and hobbies that do not focus on turning a profit, but rather the freedom to explore and experiment.
This could, however, provide an opportunity for further profiling online shoppers, where Zines are now largely distributed. The specialized nature of Zines provides valuable information about consumers, and this could be key in news media aggregates business, which is why, some argue, small publications have been included in the larger publishing scope (for instance, Amazon’s “singles”).
It is also interesting, as The New York Times article notes, that the apetite for zines is growing when it has never been easier – or cheaper – to publish content online, thanks to free blogging services like Tumblr, WordPress and Posterous.
Especially for artists, writers, and creative minds, this emerging trend is one to watch. Zines are beginning to appear in galleries and offbeat bookstores, like New York’s Printed Matter. We’ll just have to see how they continue to grow in interest and availability in tandem with digital magazines.
Folio reported yesterday that adults who read magazines on digital playforms (including desktop/laptop computers, tablets, e-readers and smartphones) make up 11% of gross magazine audience impressions. The print-only audience still supplies the largest sector of magazine reader exposures at 1.278 billion. Out of 1.6 billion magazine impressions, digital-only consumers contribute 166 million. These statistics come from Gfk MRI interviews of 26,000 American adults on their media consumption habits in its annual Survey of the American Consumer.
The findings provide some interesting insights regarding not only the current state of digital readership, but also how we might imagine it will continue to develop. Only 135 milllion impressions come from users who access content on both digital and print. The magazine digital audience is 63% male, with 42% holding at least a Bachelor’s degree. Readers between 17-34 years old make up the largest slice of digital readers, generation-wise, representing 54%. The baby boomer generation, ages 47-64, is the lowest percentage of age groups represented in GfK MRI’s data at only 20%.
Here are the stats that GfK MRI provides in their press release:
According to a report on MediaBeat, Condé Nast announced today that its entire digital magazine collection would be available on Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet and Nook Color. Customers will be able to purchase single issues and/or monthly subscriptions through the Nook’s Newsstand, while print subscribers will continue to have free access to the digital versions. Condé Nast’s success with sales on Apple’s Newsstand has significantly influenced their standing on digital platforms, as the company previously only sold Q, Glamour, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker on the Nook. By the end of November, however, Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, Details, Golf Digest, Golf World, Lucky, Self, Teen Vogue, W and Wired will also be available.
Tom Cheredar wrote in his coverage of the announcement that Condé Nast’s digital sales of its publications seem to be a key element in the publisher’s strategy. In October, Condé Nast reported that its weekly digital subscription sales increased 368% since Apple launched its Newsstand feature on iOS 5. The company also has plans to release its lineup of magazines on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire Newsstand, which offers customers who sign up before March 1 a free three-month trial of all its publications. (That’s a better deal than the one it offers to Nook customers – a free 14-day trial of each magazine).
Below is the press release Conde Nast released earlier today.
Early last week, People announced that they were the first magazine brand to surpass 3 million followers on twitter.
1.3 million follow People on facebook, one of the largest fan-bases of any magazine on the platform. Webwire reported that Janice Morris, managing editor of People Digital, stated: “We’re excited to announce that we’ve hit the three million follower milestone on Twitter. Twitter’s model is ideal for People content as we continue to lead in breaking the biggest stories in entertainment news, plus twitter has been a great gateway for interacting directly with our readers.
Included at the end of the article was a blurb about People Digital:
PEOPLE Digital is the ultimate celebrity experience online. More than 13 million unique users agree, returning each month—sometimes, several times a day—adding up to more than one billion monthly page views. As a counterpart to PEOPLE magazine, PEOPLE Digital includes leading celebrity news breaker PEOPLE.com, the No. 1 celebrity magazine website; PEOPLE mobile editions, read by more than 2.5 million users each month; and social media extensions, which nearly 5 million fans follow every day. Addictive and authoritative, PEOPLE.com is powered by an extensive team of print and web-dedicated editors, writers and reporters across the globe and provides an unrivaled 360-degree look at star lives via several channels—the A-Z celebrity bio database, News, Photos, Moms & Babies, Pets, TV Watch, Video and StyleWatch. In addition to breaking news, PEOPLE.com features a dynamic mix of striking photos, videos, interactive tools, live blogs, unparalleled Hollywood access, and a commitment to accurate and fair reporting. For more information visit www.people.com.
Today TIME Entertainment reported that “Amazon Makes Like a Publisher With Kindle Singles.” Andrea Sachs writes:
In January, Amazon.com, the world’s largest online bookseller, launched its Kindle Singles sales campaign. The mini-eBooks were specifically designed for the company;s popular eReader and apps, and each is comprised of what Amazon describes as”a single killer idea” that runs between 5,000 and 30,000 words, longer than a long magazine article but shorter than a short book. The Singles range from memoirs and original reporting to essays and short stories. Since the beginning of the year, more than 100 have been published.
Aside from the Singles, the bookselling giant plans to publish more than 120 full-length books this fall alone, in both print and digital formats. “Publishers are pretty unhappy about Amazon’s general publishing initiatives, which look more and more like a traditional house,” says Michael Norris, a senior analyst at Simba Information. And if publishers feel elbowed aside, it’s not an accident. “I think a lot of what Amazon wants to do is basically own the road between the consumer and the content. It’s been a big part of what the Kindle’s about.”
After reading this article (for the full text, click here), I went on to Amazon.com to discover yet another development, the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library! Wait, what?!
Amazon’s home page currently reads:
Today we’re announcing a new benefit for Kindle owners with an Amazon Prime membership: theKindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free, including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers — as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. No other e-reader or ebook store offers such a service.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library features a wide array of popular titles, including Water for Elephants, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, and Fast Food Nation – plus award-winning novels such as The Finkler Question, motivational books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, biographies and memoirs including Kitchen Confidential, and Pulitzer Prize-winning books like Guns, Germs, and Steel.
We’re adding the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to Prime membership at no extra cost — Amazon Prime remains just $79 a year, which gives you free two-day shipping on millions of products, plus unlimited instant streaming of almost 13,000 movies and TV shows.
If you’re a Kindle owner with Prime, you can start borrowing books today. If you don’t yet have a Kindle, our all-new Kindle family is available from just $79.
We’re working hard to continuously drive even more value for Kindle owners. We hope you enjoy the new library — happy borrowing.
Founder & CEO
PS — If you have not tried Amazon Prime, you canstart a one-month free trial here.
Yesterday ZDNet reported that as more tablets and digital platforms evolve, the question of whether or not to charge print subscribers for access to digital publications has become critical to the industry.
Hearst charges for digital and print subscriptions separately, while Conde Nast and Time Inc. are offering digital copies of their magazines on the iPad for free to print subscribers. These companies have essentially set in motion the two different models for promoting magazines on tablets.
John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager of Hearst magazines, argues in favor of selling print and digital separately. He remarked, “We are at a critical juncture for magazine publishers to reassert value of content, and that value needs to be paid for.” He went on to argue that consumers are willing to pay if the value is there. He offered several examples to parallells in other digital content industries, such as if you buy a movie ticket, that doesn’t mean you get the privilege of streaming it a few days later, or if you buy the hardcover version of Steve Jobs’ biography, you don’t automatically get a digital copy for free. ”At this juncture, we’re not allowing accessing of content electronically just because you paid for print yet,” said Loughlin, adding that the model is “definitely working” for Hearst, and that he would be surprised if the monthly digital circulation rate didn’t reach 500,000 by the end of the year.
So why is anyone providing free content? Time Inc.’s senior vice president for consumer marketing, Nate Simmons, posited that the concept is similar to Time Warner’s TV Everywhere platform, but that this is just “magazines everywhere.” “If you’re a print subscriber, you’ve paid for it once,” remarked Simmons, “You shouldn’t have to pay for it again.” David Payne, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Gannet Co., debated that this model is really just about supporting and keeping the core properties (i.e. circulation revenue strong).
Scribd CEO and co-founder Trip Adler noted that sometimes publishers will put a book up on Scribd, the content will go viral, and then people who like it can easily purchase the book from e-sellers like Amazon. “It’s just a way for users to benefit from having a better consumption experience for that content and make it more social,” said Adler, adding that this is the first step in something much larger as mobile advertising has still not evolved enough yet. He also argued that it’s important for users to pay, but that when it comes to magazines, the user experience hasn’t evolved enough yet. Compare that to music, where Adler picked out Apple’s iTunes and even newer subscription-based services like Spotify that have changed that industry.
Loughlin believes that a one-price-for-all-you-can-read model is an interesting concept, but he worried that it’s hard to get the numbers to add up.