An Ounce of Ad-Free Prevention

Prevention-MagazineTaking a page from brand magazines, the Rodale publication continues its pioneering ways.

We’ve seen them already. . . magazines without advertising. They typically belong to the new wave of brand journalism and lifestyle enablers that have chosen to publish titles in print as part of their strategic marketing.

Still, the majority of traditional publishers might well ask, “Why would I want to?” when considering moving this way themselves. From nearly the inception of magazine publishing, advertising has been a major revenue stream and an integral and arguably critical part of a publication’s success and survival.

One publisher not only dared to imagine a magazine without advertising, they took the bold first step toward making it a reality. Rodale, Inc. has announced that its flagship publication, Prevention, would no longer carry advertising starting with the July 2016 issue.

Hindsight reveals Rodale’s shift may have been in the works for some time. Publishing Executive reports that Prevention has been adjusting its rate base significantly, reporting decreasing circulation data as far back as 2012. That makes for very interesting conversations with your advertisers as you try to renew contracts. Is Rodale’s shift to a no-advertising model a way of breaking up with advertisers before they can do it first? A sort of “It’s not you, it’s me” in the publishing world.

Rodale has a history of turning the magazine publishing business model on its ear, diversifying its revenue streams and extending its brand to DVDs, special events, online education and book publishing, among others. It should come as little surprise that if anyone were going to take a leap into uncharted magazine business model territory, it would be Rodale.