What is Magazine Media?

How to create a more profitable multiplatform brand through the best types of magazine media

I was having a conversation with a client the other day, when he asked me “what exactly is magazine media?” See, in the niche magazine publishing business, you’ll find that many of your colleagues are niche industry experts, but as this client reminded me, not all are inherently from the magazine business.

The simplest explanation I can offer is that magazine media is a long list of platforms and channels that can be used to distribute content that is derivative of magazines.


There is of course a much less simple answer that I think will assist you in understanding how magazine media plays a role in our lives as magazine publishers, whether we came from a publishing background or are coming from a life of niche expertise and only learning the magazine ropes starting now.

There are two types of magazine media, editions and extensions.

1. Editions are the three big magazine types we talk about: print, tablet and web. The print edition is mailed, and can be held in your hand, while the tablet edition is delivered through an Apple, Google, or Kindle store on your tablet device. A web magazine is built in HTML and is the only one that requires an internet connection to read, however, it is formatted to fit any device, whether it’s desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Magazine editions offer users the same reading experience they have known for hundreds of years.

2. Extensions are derivative platforms where you can create a minimum information unit (MIU) that comes, most likely, from a magazine story. A good example of this might be a video episode you create that was inspired by a popular magazine article you published. National Geographic is an excellent example of a publisher who distributes multiple extensions of their magazine. An extension begins with a concept from a magazine article, and then is reformatted in a way that is appropriate for the new platform.

The most common example you’ll find of an extension on the web, is a free Portal post. This is the free content you give away online that is meant to attract and convert visitors into subscribers. A free Portal post may come from a 2,000 word magazine article, but is reformatted into 800 words, and search optimized for the web to be used as content marketing tool to build circulation. In fact, if a magazine article was 5,000 words, it could easily be turned into four or five Portal posts, which would be extensions of the magazine. Ideally, each Portal post will say that the name and date of the issue the content was excerpted from, and link to the web magazine’s original magazine article page. We’d hope this would be sitting behind a gated or metered pay wall that allows limited access for non-subscribers and unlimited access for paid subscribers and members.

There are other extensions you use every day that are derivative, like a Facebook post, or a Tweet. This is simply short form media, but since it provides editorial value and links back to the Portal or magazine article, it’s considered an extension as well.

Email is another example, in two ways. First, you have a current issue announcement, that has a table of contents and leads subscribers back to the digital magazine content, or offers a sneak preview of the print magazine that’s on its way. Second, you have an editorial email newsletter that is short-form and brings someone back to the Portal post. From the Portal post, the user can see what issue the article is derivative of, and it completes the cycle.

Another example you might come across is a magazine event or conference, like Farm Progress’ Farm Progress Show, the largest outdoor farm show for North American and International farmers, ag businessmen and ag related companies. You can also look toward,  The Atlantic, who has taken full advantage of this extension by forming their annual CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges conference. Beyond conferences, magazines like the Biblical Archaeology Review sells tickets for tours, seminars, and cruises related to some of the big topics, digs, and locations covered in their magazine.

Television is another, where you might see recipes being cooked on the America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS, that are also featured in their magazines, Cook’s Country and Cooks Illustrated. Additionally, the recipes from the show, also get turned into an annual cookbook.

Turning your magazine into a multiplatform brand with magazine media

Is there an exhaustive list of platforms that publishers can and should be publishing on? It depends on your budget and resources to get everything done, and of course your audience and what they want. We’ve never seen an exhaustive list, however we think the starter list below is enough to create an ecosystem of content you can publish and create as products and also as derivative content for your Portal.

  • Magazines (Print, Tablet, Web)
  • Books
  • Television Shows
  • Online Videos
  • Events
  • Social Media Channels
  • Software Applications
  • Portals
  • Free Downloads
  • Podcasts

If you are looking for a source of support while trying to determine which magazine media you’ll like to try and build for your magazine brand, please reach out. Mequoda can help you increase your audience, revenue and profits and if you’re lacking the resources to get it done, we also provide the resources to create new editions and extensions for you.


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