Publishers adapting to the digital world

Publishing companies like Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast and Time Inc. are pursuing diverse strategies to drive up digital sales, and have all seen online readership numbers rise as a result, says Warc.

Hearst Magazines charged an average of US$10 for first year subscribers to its print titles last year, which could be measured against the US$19.99 for digital subscriptions.

“This represents an opportunity for the magazine business to become more leveraged toward consumer revenue and a little less dependent on advertising,” David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, told the Wall Street Journal (pictured).

Hearst has 800,000 digital-only subscribers, serving as a much-needed fillip given that US magazine adspend is set to contract by four per cent in 2012 and 5.1 per cent in 2013, according to Warc’s latest Consensus Ad Forecast.

“I hope that this is the demise of US$6 and US$7 and US$8 and US$9 print subscriptions,” John Loughlin, Hearst’s executive vice president and general manager, said.

On its part, Condé Nast is offering “bundled” digital and print subscriptions for US$99. This compares with fees of US$69 to subscribe to publications like Vanity Fair and the New Yorker via a single channel.

In reflection of the possible benefits this provides, a print subscription commanded US$39 two years ago. Condé Nast now has 1.5m digital readers, and 500,000 who solely subscribe through such a route.

Moreover, print subscribers also opting to take up a digital package logged a renewal rate some 25 per cent greater than their counterparts not paying for both online and offline access.

Read the rest of this story at Warc

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