Lessons to Learn From Consumer Reports

Digital publishing news for November 4, 2013

Consumer Reports has been through a lot over the last couple years. The pitfalls and challenges they face are the same many legacy brands face as they try to navigate the digital frontier. Jim Romenesko writes about the hardships Consumer Reports has faced. Romenesko writes, “One problem was the website. “It was a very slow process for them to wake up to the notion that the website was more important than the print product,” says a CR veteran, and many old-timers were slow to embrace online reader reviews.”

“There was the attitude of, ‘users don’t know anything; we’re the experts.’”

This type of mentality doesn’t work in digital publishing. There has also been many staff changes. Editorial director Kevin McKean lost his job in September of 2012 and this past June editor-in chief Kim Kleman was let go. She had been with the publication for 16 years and for many, was considered the heart and soul of the magazine. Consumer Reports is in a state of transition and will continue to be until it finds its footing in the new digital landscape.

New York Times Paywall Outpaces Digital Ads

Columbia Journalism Review is reporting that the New York Times paywall has brought in more revenue than their digital ads. Ryan Chittum writes, “The Times’s paywall, which hit 727,000 subscribers in the quarter, up 28,000 in three months. Even bigger, the Times’s paywall revenue has soared past its digital ad revenue. Digital subscriptions brought in $37.7 million in the third quarter, while digital ads brought just $32.9 million. When you consider the print-boosting effects of the paywall, which I’d estimate very (very) roughly at several million dollars a quarter, the paywall looks even better.” Chittum goes on to add that The Times still needs to worry about their digital ad sales. “Digital ad sales actually fell faster than print ad sales in the third quarter. Print was down just 1.6 percent but digital dropped 3.4 percent.”


Digital Circ For B2B Pubs Continue to Rise

Audience Development is reporting that, “digital copies now account for 23.5 percent of all qualified circulation,” for B to B publishers.

Bill Mickey writes, “BPA Worldwide released its digital circulation report for the first half of 2013 and the audit firm says digital now accounts for 23.5 percent of all total qualified circulation. That number edged up 1.5 percent since the six-month period ending in December 2012. There were 521 BPA members reporting digital circulation for the June period, a number—about 35 percent of all audited titles—that has held steady.”

The top publication was Chief Executive China, which has a circulation of 340,017. Two of the publications in the top 25 have are a 100% digital publication, T.H.E. Journal with a circulation of 793,367 and Campus Technology with 47,319.

The Hill Gets A Redesign

Congressional publication The Hill recently redesigned its website in response to a boost to website traffic. They have also introduced a new native advertising component called BrandNews. Melissa Hoffmann writes, “Advertisers will be able to provide content via BrandNews in the context of the reader’s experience that matches news on TheHill.com. This content can be shared socially by users and discovered through search alongside The Hill’s regular content. Several brands are already working with the publication, but The Hill did not make those names available.”



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