Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/07/2011

‘The Week Magazine’ Proves Print Power Still Exists


Print Magazine Success!

When most print magazines have been devoting more and more effort to digital operations to save their very skins … The Week magazine has been growing print subscriptions and advertising sales like it was the glory days of the 1960’s. 

How are they doing this, you ask? 

I asked too … and found this incisive article by Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor of FOLIO magazine

Print Power

How The Week continues to grow print revenue (and profits) in a dotcom world.

Mobile content and community brands dominated the media category of the 2011 Inc. 5000, which recognizes the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S. (The number one company in the media category: GoLive! Mobile, which “creates and packages content, including videos, games, and social media, for consumers to access on their mobile phones”, as well as offers consulting services to companies that want to create their own mobile content.)

But “traditional” publishers made the list as well, including two Felix Dennis-owned publications: Mental Floss, ranked #50 in the media category with three-year revenue growth of 52 percent to $3.1 million in 2010, and The Week at #51 in media with three-year growth of 49 percent to $38.4 million in 2010. Unlike many of the other publishers on the list, The Week continues to flourish as a print enterprise.

Here, president Steve Kotok talks to FOLIO: about how The Week continues to boost print revenue and profit, why readers are the brand’s best way of gaining new subscribers and why The Week is waiting until 2012 to finally jump into the app race.

FOLIO: The Week recently made the Inc. 5000 as one of fastest growing media brands. Where is the growth coming from?

Steve Kotok: I would say the growth is coming equally from subscription and advertising. The subscription growth is coming from our ability to raise price, that’s the biggest thing. According to ABC, our price is up 40 percent, and as measured by us as net-net it’s doubled.

On the ad side, it’s going from selling print ad pages to engaging with these larger brands. The number of ad packages we’ve sold at $500,00 or more since 2008 went from one to three to 10, this year it should be 15. The vast majority are combining print, digital, and events. We wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, it’s coming from print ads or digital ads.’ It’s coming from our ability to offer larger packages to the advertising brands and serve them if they want to make a splash in D.C., to serve them digitally, to serve them in multiple ways.

There is stuff we put in buckets for accounting, but when really looking at our biggest sales, we may say $600,000 of this goes to print, $400,000 goes to digital, and $50,000 goes to an event fee. We wouldn’t be able to sell any of it without the other.

FOLIO: Are packages coming from existing advertisers or new advertisers?

Kotok: It’s a combination. Every year you start new, some are existing advertisers, a lot of them are new…it’s definitely breaking a lot of new business but that’s not really a distinguishing factor. Every year we make our best shot at them.

FOLIO: Please talk about current revenue ratios (print versus digital versus other channels). What is it today and how has that changed in recent years? What does it need to be going forward?

Kotok:
Subscriptions and print advertising are more or less equal with Web ads being 15 to 18 percent of the revenue generated by print ads. However, print and Web ads combined exceed subscription revenue.

FOLIO: Do you see that changing going forward?

Kotok: I don’t now if we will see a huge change. A few years ago we may have thought that ads were going to grow faster than subscriptions but our ability to grow subscription revenue and keep it growing has surprised us. I don’t think we’ll start doing more digital advertising than print advertising.

We’re going on the Kindle, Nook and iPad in January and that’s all circulation revenue. I don’t see the mix radically changing, although we still see our print subscriptions and our print ads growing. Web ads are growing faster but at 15 percent of print revenue, it’s not a massive shift—we may go 80/20, 75/25, print to digital in the future. We have a good business. We’re aware of the trends. Even before digital, there were trends to follow. We’re not embarrassed of print.

Read and learn more

You can get this Publishing/Writing Blog on Kindle 🙂 

 

 

 

 

02/28/2011

Printed Magazines: Young Adult Readership Up & 90% Prefer Ink Format!


Pundits predicting the extinction of printed mags are wrong! In fact, printed mag readership (especially among the under 35 group with digital exposure) has steadily risen over the past 5 years, even through the recession…as reported by David McDonald (bio at ‘Read and learn more’ link below) in FOLIO magazine.

Now, I don’t know if the ad revenue has matched the same performance of the ‘readership’ stats (from what I’ve read, it hasn’t)…but, if the ad revenue is indeed down, this non-expert wonders why? It would not be logical on the surface. If the advertisers are just pulling the ad money from print to concentrate on the new digital formats, it would appear they are missing a growing opportunity, huh?    

On to David McDonald’s article:

Teach Your Children Well

Is the training of tomorrow’s magazine and media professionals keeping up?

While many media pundits purport that magazine readership is dropping or that printed magazines are soon to be extinct, the truth emerges that year after year magazine readership continues to grow. In fact, magazine readership has increased for the past five years—right through the recession—according to MPA, which found that four out of five U.S. adults read magazines. Another 2010 survey from MRI discovered that young adults (those under 35) read the most, despite the abundance of new media alternatives. A recent CMO Council survey of 1,000 consumers with digital exposure indicated that 90 percent of magazine subscribers prefer the printed format to the new e-reader apps.

Consumers continue to engage magazines in the printed form, but they are also looking beyond print and accessing magazine content in very personal ways—Web sites, e-media, mobile and rich media, and various other content platforms are increasingly more relevant to today’s magazine and media consumer. This emerging diversity in how we encounter magazine content speaks to the complexity of how consumers engage the content they want—on their terms, in many formats and across multiple platforms—and again, only the content they want. So we better serve it up the way they want it, right?

Educating the Next Generation

Today’s magazine and media companies—as well as the staff of journalists and designers who package content for consumers—are working within a new world order. The rules of journalism are changing and Media Ethics are not immune from this evolution. Ethics, while important, are often irrelevant to a media transaction. Many publishers believe that those who drive the formation of ethical opinion will continue to refine their perspective within the larger media landscape and come to terms with the ideals of branded and custom content and the demands of what I call Transcendent Media platforms.

Do ethics, as we know them today, have a place in media? Yes, in some instances… but not all. The ideals of church and state that have for so long driven the philosophies, perspectives, and opinions of media must and will change to embrace the new world order of Transcendent Media. And this is an important fact to the universities teaching tomorrow’s magazine professionals.

Read and learn more

Remember, you can get this blog on your Kindle here

03/02/2010

Is Digital Publishing the Same as Instant Coffee?


Is the presnt depressed state of revenue for print magazine publishers due to the recession or new media technology?

I have discussed this from different perspectives in previous posts but will dicsuss it again since I read an interesting take on this subject in the San Francisco News Blog “The Snitch” by Lois Beckett:

‘Imagine that you are the head of a American magazine publishing company. You publish Vogue, or Sports Illustrated, or National Geographic. Your ad revenue has plummeted. You have recently shuttered several magazines. The Web sites of your publications are clunky and underdeveloped (most of them use a similar dull template). You know that you need to do something drastic, something that will turn around your business and inspire a new generation of readers.

And so, on a gray Monday morning in San Francisco, you and your fellow magazine-publishing cohorts join together to launch a collaborative effort to save the American magazine — “Magazines, The Power of Print.”

Yes — you are not going to struggle alone. You are going to bring together the best minds in the business to create a $90 million print advertising campaign. You are going to advertise in your own magazines about how people should keep reading magazines!

To do this, you need a really killer slogan. Something that will galvanize your readers. That will show just how cutting-edge and relevant you are.

“Will the Internet Kill Magazines? Did Instant Coffee Kill Coffee?”

Bingo!’

John’s opinion note: Well, at least the above SF News Blog post came up with a smashing slogan! And one that has an element of truth in it.

My thought, however, is the magazine publishing depleted revenue state began slowly as a result of the growing accessibility to the internet, then was exasperated by the imploding economy during the Bush years, but was intensified and experienced a metamorphosis due to the introduction of new media technology such as e-readers and iPads…Strangely enough, this latest technology will also be the salvation and solution to the publishing crisis! This is because the demand for content for the popular media devices has gone through the roof!

As I’ve said before, when the dust settles around all this new tech, and the industry learns to adapt to new formats and business models, and the newness of e-devices wears off with consumers…the printed word will still have a place in the publishing food-chain (albeit not as the only game in town) simply because people like to escape a f—ing monitor at times, no matter it’s size, and curl up with a good book or magazine…Especially in the bathroom, paper just seems warmer somehow…and what if you run out of toilet paper??

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: