Digital publishing news for August 22, 2013
Audience Development had a report earlier this month on how Harvard Business Review increased prices and increased their circulation at the same time. Michael Rondon reports, “HBR has seen total circulation jump close to 10 percent in the last 18 months, up to 260,315, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Both paid subscriptions and single-copy sales were up over 7 percent in the first half of 2013.”
John Macht, HBR group publisher talks about their overall strategy,”What we found is, there’s really a growth strategy there. When we have what we call a ‘spotlight’ in the magazine—a cover story—we not only tweet about that and [put it] on LinkedIn, but we might also do a webinar [or a dedicated section on the site]. That will correspond with the magazine cover. What we’re trying to do across all platforms is really raise the exposure of HBR and we see that over time, we bring people into the brand.”
What really ties this strategy together is the fact that HBR doesn’t offer print only subscription. Everything is bundled, Rondon adds, “That emphasis on packaging print and digital content has extended to its circulation strategy. HBR doesn’t offer print-only subscriptions anymore. Even its most basic package comes with a form of digital access which is an explicit value add for consumers. As such, they can charge more.”
ALM Becoming a Digital First Publisher
Legal and commercial real estate news publisher ALM is set to launch a free digital membership program on August 23 reports FOLIO. Arti Patel writes, “The legal and commercial real estate news publisher is looking to expand its consumer base by offering a bundled news service package that includes five free articles a month, newsletters, news alerts and access to ALM’s database where some previously archived subscriber-only stories will now be made available. The digital reader program, launching August 23, 2013, is cost-free.”
ALM is taking steps to become a digital first publisher. Jeffrey S. Litvack, chief digital officer at ALM stated, “Digital membership establishes a simple way for us to serve today’s subscribers and future subscribers with the online news content they want, when and where they want it.”
ALM hopes to get non-paid subscribers in the door to kick the tires and eventually become paid subscribers.
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Motorcyclist Sold to Bonnier
In a surprise acquisition, publisher Bonnier has purchased Motorcyclist. We have a first-hand account of the acquisition from Motorcyclist editor Marc Cook. “Shock turned to anger. We felt like we’d been dumped like a truckload of quickly thawing frozen pork. You have to understand our dedication to appreciate the reaction: For us—and I think I can speak for my whole staff—this is more than a job. We live and breathe motorcycles,” writes Cook.
Bonnier quickly called the whole staff together and discussed the transition. After the meeting, Cook seemed more optimistic about Motorcyclist new home,”Fact is, we have a very strong and identifiable brand, something Bonnier management is keenly aware of; it doesn’t call its magazines “titles,” they’re “brands.” And it’s not just PR speak; branding is important. It identifies your approach, your attitude, your general way of doing things. And readers identify with certain brands, which is why there isn’t 100 percent duplication between our and Cycle World’s readers. Bonnier knows this, and has seen the financials: Even in a difficult industry during hard economic times, Motorcyclist is a powerful brand and a profitable business.”
Covers are Art & Art Sells
Digiday has a new article on how magazine cover art is becoming a lucrative side business for publishers. Josh Sternberg writes,”Condé Nast, owner of magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, Golf Digest and The New Yorker, is seeing an uptick in the licensing and selling of archival covers. Covers can be pieces of art, and Condé Nast is generating revenue by selling them to admirers through CondeNastStore.com.”
Magazine cover art can fetch as much as a $1000. Sternberg adds,”While the company wouldn’t disclose how much revenue the licensing and selling of prints brings in, it said it sells more than 75,000 prints a year. Back-of-the-envelope math puts that at at least $9.3 million per year. Not bad for repurposed work.”
Rolling Stone Gets a New Publisher
Fishbowl NY reports that Chris McLoughlin has been named as the new publisher of Rolling Stone. Mcloughlin leaves his role as publisher at Men’s Journal.