Online-Only Magazines: News on Audience Development, Mobile, and More

Monitoring the latest media trends for online-only magazines and other publishers

These are interesting times for online-only magazines: The industry, like a growing child, is changing every day, and just chasing it around can be exhausting.

Ad tech, mobile monetization, audience development, ad blocking and viewability, data and analytics, and other considerations – and, some would say, consternations – make digital publishers a vigilant bunch of professionals, in large part because there’s a lot of money to be made if you play your cards right.

And on the other end of things, it’s a matter of survival. has some tips, trends, and more for us this week with recent coverage. Definitely worth a read!


Online-Only Magazines and Digital Advertisers Must Prioritize Audience

For online-only magazines, digital publishers, and, ultimately, all media companies, audience development and retention is a demand above most others. The question is, how do we achieve that in this day and age. went looking for answers.

“Premium publishers consider the relationship with their consumer to be sacred. They want to protect their consumers’ rights, respect their intelligence and taste, but balance it with making money and being efficient. On the other hand, pure money plays (firms which source large amounts of audience or rely on sensationalistic promotions on social media) who loop in people with ‘You won’t believe what happened when…’ ads, are less serious about their relationship,” ESPN Director of Sales Operation Policy and Contract Oversight Rick Monihan told Rasko.

“Their ‘content’ is not about a relationship with a consumer, just a relationship with an idea. As long as the idea is conformed to and delivered in an acceptable fashion, they will keep getting consumers. But it isn’t about who the consumer is or what they want, it’s about how much more efficiently they can drag a viewer in and how much more efficiently ads can be delivered.”

Adds AccuWeather Global Chief Revenue Officer Marie Svet:

“While the mediums consumers use to engage with content are constantly changing, AccuWeather has seen tremendous growth recently in mobile — a rapidly evolving platform for many brands — as all consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on their mobile devices. We’ve found it is critical to deliver highly relevant, immediately actionable content to our mobile audience that can be consumed in mere seconds and the key to delivering that successfully is to create a highly-personalized experience. AccuWeather is constantly conceptualizing, testing and evaluating our content to ensure we are delivering that best-in-class personalized experience our audience has come to expect in order to remain effective and relevant. As a result, we’ve built strong loyalty and preference with our audience.”


New Study Casts Doubt on Whether Consumers Will Plunk Down Ducats for Content

With the rise of micropayments, ad blocking programs, and other unprecedented obstacles and opportunities for publishers, at times the will of the readers gets lost amid all of the industry analysis. relays the results of a recent study that may be a bit surprising.

“In the mobile world — where ad blockers have been popular because of load times and other usability issues — nearly 70 percent of users don’t want to pay anything. The Seattle-based Tune surveyed almost 4000 users in the U.S. and U.K. The nutshell, according to Tune mobile economist and study author John Koetsier: most mobile users ‘won’t pay even $1/year to avoid mobile ads,'” Barry Levine writes.

“Only 4.5 percent of respondents would be willing to pay $1/day, and the same percentage was willing to alternatively pay $1/week. Asked about $1/month, 10.4 percent said yes, and 11.3 percent said sure to a whopping $1/year. Koetsier added that the total of all the contributions that respondents said they would voluntarily pay would be about 9 percent of what publishers are getting now from mobile ads.”

Speaking of Which, Can Flattr Offer Any Real Benefit to Digital Publishers?

Since we’re on the subject of Flattr and ad blocking, publishers are warily receiving recent news about a partnership between Adblock and Flattr to entice consumers into paying for content. But as reports, it’s not that simple by any stretch of the imagination.

“Publishers – particularly large media companies – will certainly not view this feature as an olive branch from Adblock Plus to the online publishing community but rather as another way of leveraging ad blocking to participate in the revenue stream associated with publishers’ content. They are sure to see the feature as an extension of Adblock Plus’s existing strategy of whitelisting fees – which has been likened by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to extortion – especially as Adblock Plus and Flattr are expected to keep a portion of the revenue generated from the partnership,” Ben Barokas writes.

“While the announcement of Flattr Plus does raise awareness of a positive message, in that it furthers the conversation around content compensation, for premium publishers in particular, it doesn’t provide a realistic solution. The unknown variable of Flattr Plus is whether users will make voluntary donations in return for content that requires significant investment to develop. This business model will be unlikely to resonate with premium publishers that put a lot of effort and resources into creating great content experiences. It is hard to imagine publishers will rush to join this ‘tip-based’ business model; you would never expect a company that provides a tangible product to commit to such an unreliable revenue method.”

Do you publish online-only magazines? Are they making you money? If not – or if you want them to generate more revenue – contact us today.

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