Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

02/16/2010

Reader’s Digest, Playboy, Others Miss Rate Base


A magazine’s “rate base”, as I understand it, is the rate charged to advertisers in the magazine and is related to the circulation figures of the magazine…The higher the circulation the higher the cost to advertise in the periodical since it reaches more potential buyers.

FOLIO magazine’s Jason Fell wrote an informative article on this subject today:

While many of the consumer magazines included in the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ FAS-FAX report for the second half of 2009 made their rate base requirements for the period, many others, including some heavyweights, did not.

Of the 30 or so large circulation magazines with rate bases of 2 million or higher—including AARP, Time and Better Home & Gardens—Reader’s Digest and Playboy were the only titles to fall short of their circ. guarantee. Playboy reported an overall circ. of 2,021,751, more than 570,000 off its 2.6 million rate base. The magazine also fell short during the first half of 2009, delivering a total paid and verified circ. of 2,453,266.

With an 8 million rate base, Reader’s Digest delivered an overall paid and verified circulation of 7,099,558 during the second half. Last summer, the magazine said it was cutting frequency and reducing its rate base to 5.5 million—an 18-month process that would start with the February 2010 issue. A Reader’s Digest spokesperson told FOLIO: that missing its rate base during the second half last year was part of that strategy.

Generally, when a magazine doesn’t make its rate base, its publisher is required to issue refunds to its advertisers or make other concessions.

A number of celebrity titles also had trouble reaching their minimum circ. numbers during the second half of 2009. Among them were American Media’s Star (1.1 million rate base compared to 1,035,713 overall circ.), OK! (800,000 rate base vs. 753,886 overall circ.) and Bauer’s In Touch (800,000 rate base vs. 790,395 overall circ.).

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing also failed to reach its circ. promises. Ebony reported an overall circ of 1,169,870 compared to a rate base of 1,250,000. Jet, meanwhile, missed its 900,000 rate base, reporting an overall circ of only 795,055.

Other notable titles that missed rate bases were Harper’s (200,000 rate base vs. 195,114 overall circ.), Soap Opera Digest (500,000 rate base vs. 487,629 overall circ.) and Emmis Publishing’s Los Angeles (150,000 rate base vs. 140,022 overall circ.).

Biggest Overall Gainers

Although the vast majority of magazines claiming rate bases saw overall total paid and verified circulation declines during the last six months last year, some in fact reported significant gains. The biggest growth came from Rodale’s Women’s Health, which saw overall circ grow 21.5 percent to 1,454,545.

That was followed by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Body + Soul (+19.7 percent to 678,136), Birds & Blooms (+14.7 percent to 1,737,397), Meredith’s Siempre Mujer (+11.8 percent to 458,000) and All You (+10.6 percent to 1,023,242).

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12/29/2009

Hearst’s Digital Reach Grows


Advertising revenue for digital publications is taking off. And, subscription rates for online pubs is also climbing if Hearst’s online magazine empire is any indication. The way they are able to tailor ads to specific targeted groups in different regions in the same issue is golden…

Amy Wicks, World Wide Digital, reports it this way:

GROWING REACH: With 26 sites and counting, Hearst Magazines Digital Media will launch a new vertical late next year that “is not one you’d expect from us,” noted Chuck Cordray, senior vice president and general manager. He added the URL already has been purchased but declined to provide more information. Next summer, the digital unit also will relaunch its teen network, which includes seventeen.com and teenmag.com.

And the digital space continues to attract new advertisers for Hearst, with ad revenue up more than 20 percent year-over-year. Cordray said the focus for next year will be on the retail category, which rose more than 50 percent this year. Cordray contended advertisers are coming to the Hearst digital network because, among other things, the package of sites on which the ads will appear can be customized depending on the audience a given brand wants to reach. “Ad networks usually can’t guarantee quality like we can, and they will alter placements across their sites,” Cordray said. “The nature of our content means the audience is very tailored.”

Meanwhile, the Web continues to be a greater source of subscriptions, with 3.3 million garnered this year versus 2.5 million in 2008. House Beautiful is one of the leaders, with more than 75 percent of subscriptions sold online.

Hearst magazine sites represent more than 40 percent of the total traffic in the digital network and 50 percent of its ad revenue. According to comScore for March through October, traffic across the total network was up 33 percent, including food site Delish.com. Traffic at Cosmopolitan was up 1 percent, Marie Claire was up 19 percent and Harper’s Bazaar was up 151 percent. Kaboodle, a nonmagazine site that focuses on fashion, was up 66 percent.

10/22/2009

Pricing Digital Editions: Finding the Sweet Spot


Several times in this blog, I have discussed print versus digital format in various aspects re books. Pricing was one of those aspects. How to arrive at a price for your digital versions when many were given away in the beginning of digital availability due to low cost of production, no warehousing, no printing costs, etc. AND promotion of a new media format.

Now, creative content & artistry have to be considered for payment to be fair to the authors whose work appears in digital format…regardless of the lower costs of manufacturing, storage & delivery.

If the publishers’ profit margin decreases due to a loss of paper-printed word, the profit margins also have to be shored up in order to have sufficient resources to pay content writers/authors a fair price for creating.

Magazines, as well as books, are also coming out with digital versions and so face the same dilemma in finding a perfect digital price…One that is lower than hardcover but still high enough to pay a good price to contributors & produce viable profit margins.

Vanessa Voltolina wrote an informative article in the Oct, 2009 FOLIO: magazine, the magazine for magazine management, addressing this very subject … http://alturl.com/p95g

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