Digital Subscriptions Growing for Some Publishers

Digital subscriptions are helping publishers succeed in times when advertising isn’t strong enough

With the economic realities of recent years, magazine publishers have had multiple issues to address.

First, they have taken to the digital frontier by creating subscription websites, audience development strategies, and digital one-off products that can be purchased on-site or through retail and affiliate partners. Many digital magazine publishers are currently in different states of this change.

Beyond the products that digital magazine publishers can sell directly to consumers, there is the advertising arm of the business, which has historically accounted for significant amounts of revenue. However, as the economy declined between 2008 and 2010, advertising revenues decreased.

To protect against damage from low ad revenue, some digital publishers have focused on the subscription website as a way to develop and retain audiences. Selling subscription services through affiliates has helped brands increase their exposure, and the growth in tablet and mobile markets has been beneficial to publishers and consumers alike.

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Growth in digital subscriptions

The Financial Times is one company that has benefitted from the growth of digital. In fact, digital subscriptions have a higher circulation than print. This was forecast in May, and is now official. Digital subscription circulation has increased by 31 percent since last year, giving Financial Times over 300,000 digital subscribers.

The New York Times has also benefitted from digital circulation, even as ad dollars fall. According to Q2 data, New York Times Company’s ad revenue fell 6.6 percent, but with 509,000 paid digital subscribers, the circulation revenue increased 8.3 percent.

Finally, the Yell Group has seen success with the addition of new types of digital services. PaidContent reports that the company has used “higher-value website building and SEO” to do this. It has helped revenue grow 40 percent.

Digital magazine publishers have opportunity with subscription websites and the creation of digital advertisements that go beyond the norm. Targeting tablets with interactive, media-rich ads will be the focus for many publishers going forward.


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