The delicate balancing act between circulation figures and ad revenues is prompting Time Inc. to fly a new subscription model for its successful People title. According to AdWeeks’ Lucia Moses, the company “is preparing to unveil a new pricing model designed to transform the way people think about subscriptions.”
The reasoning behind it makes sense. Consumer magazine ad revenue is expected to fall off over the next couple of years, so publishers like Time Inc., Hearst and Conde Nast are all looking for ways to boost revenues from subscribers.
This is a sea change for an industry that has traditionally discounted its subscriptions to boost circulation rates high enough to justify their ad rates.
What’s interesting is how publishers are continuing to redefine the idea of “subscriber” and the benefits that go with it. Some, like Time Inc., are discounting or even giving away their digital versions to print subscribers, while others are charging for each version separately. And Hearst charges a premium for its digital versions, believing that readers will pay more for the enhanced breadth and depth of content available.
The industry is in a huge learning curve here and we see a lot of opportunities for bold new ideas. We’ll keep an eye on this one.