What Modern Multiplatform Magazines Look Like

Why do modern multiplatform magazines make so much money?

At Mequoda we talk about publishers that have multiplatform magazines on a regular basis, but what we don’t always mention is that those who are the most niche, see the greatest gains. General interest publishers are having a heck of a time figuring out a content strategy, meanwhile niche publishers are knocking it out of the park.

Consider Mother Earth News, whose connection with its readers is legendary, and their content starring front and center on their site is not for the general population.

  • Experience Cordwood Living Before You Build
  • Foraging and Cooking Wild Burdock Roots
  • Gentle Heritage-Livestock Breeds for New Homesteaders
  • Make a Corn-Sheller Box
  • Teaching Kids to Be Safe on the Farm
  • Mistakes to Avoid When Putting New Plastic on Your Hoophouse

They’re not out there publishing general-interest recipes or celebrity gossip, but publisher Ogden Publications will happily settle for growing its revenues 39X over the past 10 years!


There’s no doubt that niche content is the name of the game, at least if you’re playing the game using the Mequoda Method. But digital magazines can’t expect to slap a few enthusiast articles up on a homepage and wait for the money roll in. Rather, online publishers must stay vigilant in repurposing content, developing a content distribution strategy, and cultivating audience via social media and other platforms.

Make no mistake, though: If you can implement those tactics effectively as part of a multiplatform strategy, you will create new revenue streams. Take a look up and down the list of our Mequoda Masters to see how such an approach has worked for them.

Types of digital magazines modern multiplatform publishers are creating

Beyond recycling content into a free Portal, there’s still the question of how to best to distribute it. Most publishers create several editions across web, print and apps.

Print Magazine

This magazine archetype goes without much explanation – it’s the traditional magazine business model. It will share many of the same features as other types of magazines, but this one is made of paper.

Digital Magazine App

Although a digital magazine could rightly refer to any magazine read digitally, most would agree that a digital magazine app is a digital edition. In other words, this is the magazine that you read on your iPad, Kindle or other tablet-like device. Ads may link to webpages (a great advantage to advertisers), and articles may include videos. Digital magazine apps come in different types. In order of least interactive to most interactive, they are digital replicareplica-plus and reflow-plus.

Web Magazine

Web magazines are read online. They aren’t formatted for a tablet and they can’t be bought in an app store. They are available through a magazine subscription website, where the user can view an issue of a magazine—one that is linear and periodic, has pages and a regular frequency, and can be viewed in responsive HTML on any desktop or mobile device at any time. There’s nothing to download, although some magazine subcription websites offer PDF downloads also. Publishers of web magazines usually generate their revenue through subscribers and may also take advertisements, however that’s not typically a given, like it is for print, digital and digital-only magazines.

Online Magazine Library

Typically, when you’ve digitized your magazine into an online magazine and have organized an online magazine team, it’s remarkably simple to create an online magazine  library archive. This is available through your magazine subscription website just like the original online magazine. Users have access to old articles up until whatever date you choose. The online magazine archive is typically an upsell to your online magazine subscription and offered at an additional price per month or year.

To clear any confusion, a magazine subscription website may offer a web magazine and an online magazine library, but it doesn’t always have a web magazine. A web magazine must be designed to be responsive on any device, something not all magazine subscription websites are (although they should!)

Having all four editions in your arsenal allows you to increase revenue, especially when you add in the benefit of being able to test contrast pricing, which we’ll get into next.

How modern digital magazines are priced

The greatest benefit of being a multiplatform magazine publisher is the authority you have over pricing. Multiplatform magazines make a lot of money because you can sell more without having to pay much more.

After being designed and properly implemented within your website, and on tablet devices, you decide how you want to offer a bundle to your subscribers. It won’t cost you much more to deliver digital magazines on the web and through an app, but the larger, more profitable packages you can sell will make a big difference to your wallet.

In fact, in a world where advertisers are dropping like flies, many magazine brands are turning to their subscribers to keep them afloat.

Having multiple editions of your magazine gives you a unique amount of control when it comes to pricing. When you develop an app edition of your magazine, customers have to go through a separate vendor to purchase and download it. That makes offering the digital app with contrast pricing nearly impossible since you have to go to the app store to get it.  In fact that’s the biggest advantage, it lets you move to contract pricing which allows you dramatically increase your price point.

With a web magazine, you have the power to test different pricing as you see fit. You can offer it alongside a print magazine, an online archive, premium content (videos, newsletters, webinars, etc.), and then figure out ways to bundle them together utilizing the contrast effect.

Are you looking to launch your own modern multiplatform magazine? Mequoda can guide you through the process. Sign up now for a 30-minute no-obligation call to discuss. 


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