In a digital age, why launch a print magazine as a new source of revenue? Because, according to The New York Post’s Keith Kelly, it’s working.
Take Domino, for example, the formerly defunct cult print darling of Conde Nast that went dark in 2009. Last year Domino came roaring back to life, spun off as a new, independent company and funded with a tiny percentage of the usual Conde Nast launch budget.
According to Kelly, “the second print edition since the relaunch is hitting newsstands. And its chief revenue officer, Beth Brenner, concedes that 90 percent of the revenue is still coming from print.”
Brenner added, “Despite the fact that everyone wrote about our shiny new penny that was our digital side, we are still making a big investment in print.”
Domino is not alone in this brave new world of smaller, niche-style print runs. Their publishers have cracked the code on how to make money in print: Ditch the old cheap subscription model than doesn’t cover the cost of mailing, and aim for smaller circulation numbers that aren’t artificially pumped up by digital “subscription” numbers and giveaways.
Jim Impoco, editor-in-chief of the recently relaunched Newsweek, speaks to the trend of digital-only magazines looking to print for income, and insists that “the return to print is not just a vanity play or a publicity stunt.”
“The problem was everyone was playing with the old model,” he said. “They had a rate base, and everyone tried to jack it up as high as you could so you could get more for the advertising. It’s the same way some of the content bombs in digital chase clicks.”
Impoco told Kelly that they plan to distribute 60,000-70,000 copies, via newsstands, down from their three million circulation figure of years past. And he insists that print is where the money is going to come from.
“I think we are going to be making 80 percent of our revenue from print by the end of next year,” said Impoco.
Like Allrecipes.com, large digital publishers are getting into the print game in a big way. And they wouldn’t be doing it if the numbers didn’t support the business model. Print is looking pretty green this spring.