“I don’t think anyone thinks that ad revenue is going to dramatically increase in the future.”
That quote, from EVP Gregory Gatto of Bonnier Media, spells out the reality of the changing magazine business model, according to Beth Braverman in Folio:.
“The top 50 magazine advertisers spent a combined 6 percent less on print in 2017 than in the previous year, according to data from the MPA, the Association of Magazine Media,” Braverman notes.
And this fact – while some may see it as bad news for an industry that has seen its share of challenges the past 10 years, is in fact leading to renewed excitement and optimism.
“In response, successful publishers are turning to subscribers to make up for lost revenue, creating lower frequency, higher quality publications catering to niche audiences who are—ideally—willing to pay more for a higher grade product,” Braverman continues.
Indeed, Doug Olson of Meredith Magazines says his company’s acquisition of Time Inc. just 14 months ago speaks volumes about their positive outlook.
“We’re very bullish and excited about the awesome portfolio that we have,” Olson said to Braverman. “If we didn’t believe that magazines and brands matter, we wouldn’t have done the deal.”
So how are publishers innovating to make all this work? For Olson, they look to the people who already trust their content.
“When it comes to investing in new magazines, the company is looking for concepts that can deliver the same,” Braverman writes, like the massively successful launch of Magnolia Journal.
Remember, it was less than one year ago that Meredith seemed to be positioning itself to take aim at the digital ad duopoly, based on the strength of their audience and their platform.
It’s a way of future-proofing your publications, relying on quality and trust, magazines’ saving graces. And of course, as we’ve seen so many times, it’s not just the consumer titles that are relying on print in their business model.
“B2B publications are also investing in their print products, partly because they see their physical magazines as a means of boosting the profile of the rest of their offerings,” Braverman writes.
When it comes to future proofing your brand, there’s a growing understanding that print is a vital pillar of the future, and your audience is the foundation.