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Digital Magazine Publishing

A Simple Digital Magazine Framework for Planning and Modeling

Publishers are embracing digital magazines because users are. And it’s true for B2C and B2B, as well as pure paid subscription, controlled circulation, or both. These publishers are taking advantage of digital editions to provide the features users want and can’t get from print – video, curated collections, audio, interactive tools, social sharing, and more. And, for those with sponsor/advertising revenue, we’re just beginning to see what can be done with the ability to add rich-media native advertising content to enhance reader engagement and results for the sponsors.

Having digital-only features is slowly helping publishers change the public’s belief – resulting from the unsuccessful and ill-conceived plans of the late 1990s and early 2000s that had publishers dumping much or all of their content onto their websites for free – that digital content should be free, or at least as cheap as the insanely low prices the industry has foolishly charged for its print products over the past few decades.

Learn the secrets behind today's most rapidly growing niche publishers. Download a FREE copy of How to Develop a Multiplatform Magazine Business Plan, and discover how large your magazine business could become and how much of an investment will be required to build your business to maturity.

The Mequoda Multiplatform Magazine SPF

In planning to launch a digital magazine or a digital edition of your magazine, there are many factors to take into consideration. We’ve created a series of strategic planning frameworks as a tool in developing and communicating business plans within a multiplatform publishing organization.

The entire suite of these strategic planning frameworks (SPFs) is beyond the scope of this article. It’s also worth noting that just like a successful multiplatform publishing business, these tools do not operate in their separate silos but are most effective when they are used in a planned, coordinated way.

Nonetheless, the Multiplatform Magazine SPF can be used as a standalone tool. You may find there are additional factors specific to your publication or operation, but these will provide a basic data set for your planning and modeling.

Digital Magazine Strategic Planning Framework:
Multiplatform Magazines

Frequency

How many issues per year? #

Editions

  • Print
  • Web (HTML)
  • App
    • Apple
    • Amazon
    • Google
    • Other

App Editions

  • Software licensing cost $
  • App set up and submission management cost $
  • Asset creation cost $
  • # Issues uploaded at launch
  • Production Price/Page $
  • Cost per Issue Download $

Print Issue Map

  • Copies printed #
  • Editorial pages #
  • Ad pages #
  • Index pages #
  • Other #

Digital Issue Map

  • Editorial pages #
  • Ad pages #
  • Index pages #
  • Other #

Advertising

  • Available inventory (pages)/ year
  • Fill rate %
  • Rate Base #
  • Average Yield/thousand subscribers $
  • Yield per page $

Pricing

Edition Pricing % of Distribution
App(s)
Print
Web
Combo

Weighted average price

Library of back issues – content structure

By back issue   (Yes or No)

By topic             (Yes or No)

Email

  • # of email subs
  • # of emails sent
  • Orders per 1,000 emails sent

Website

  • Web page views
  • Orders per 1,000 page views

App Order Index

% of App Orders Remit Rates
Apple
Amazon
Google
Other

–       Must total 100%

Continuity revenues (typical rates)

  • Conversions (45%)
    • App
    • Print
    • Web
    • Combo
    • Renewals (65%)
      • App
      • Print
      • Web
      • Combo

While things continue to evolve, the overall trend is clear. Multiplatform publishing, including tablet-friendly digital editions and of course the “Swiss army knife” of magazine editions – the fully responsive web edition – is the future of magazine publishing. Whether your revenue comes primarily from selling premium content or selling advertising and sponsorships, there are substantial and growing revenue streams to be developed. And one thing you can be certain of: If you don’t do that for your markets, someone else will.

What questions do you have about this framework? Leave a comment below.

Learn the secrets behind today's most rapidly growing niche publishers. Download a FREE copy of How to Develop a Multiplatform Magazine Business Plan, and discover how large your magazine business could become and how much of an investment will be required to build your business to maturity.

By Don Nicholas

Chief Executive Officer

During his decades long career, Don has worked with colleagues, clients and partners to design digital publishing and marketing systems for more than 300 magazines, newsletters, memberships, clubs, and events. Don currently serves as executive publisher for Cabot Wealth Network, Food Gardening Network, Financial Freedom Federation, I Like Crochet Network, I Like Knitting Network, and Recipe Lion Clubs. His team's Haven WordPress CXMS offers publishers the industry’s most flexible and robust online publishing and marketing platform. Don and his strategy team have served as management advisors for virtually every major niche publishing company in North America including Meredith, Hearst, Trusted Media Brands, and hundreds of independent for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He has managed and led educational events for MPA, SIPA, FIPP and Harvard University. He has authored numerous books and hundreds of articles on journalism, publishing, technology and marketing. Before founding Mequoda in 2004, he served as founder and chief executive officer for Blue Dolphin Magazines and Lighthouse Communications Group. He started his media career as a journalist and producer working for the Armed Forces Network aboard the USS Enterprise. Don holds degrees and certifications in organizational management, journalism and electrical engineering from Capella University, Sacramento State University, and the United States Navy.

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