Meredith Diving Back into Subscriptions for Coastal Living

Meredith is in the news yet again, this time with word that they’ll begin selling subscriptions again to Coast Living magazine.

“The news comes a little over a year after declines in print advertising led the company to scale back Coastal Living to a quarterly frequency, forgo a subscription-based model and pursue a more consumer-driven, newsstand-only arrangement,” writes Greg Dool in Folio:.

When it was acquired from Time, Inc. in 2018, the title came out 10 times a year and sold for $5.99 on the rack. Now, Meredith is upgrading the quality along with the price.

“Under the newsstand-only model, which involved upgrades to the magazine’s paper stock and trim size, the cover price has more than doubled, to $12.99, and subscriptions will be priced at $20 for four annual issues or $30 for a two-year commitment,” Dool continues.

It’s another beautiful example of Meredith’s commitment to the niche audience and their desire for a high-quality magazine experience, following news of the Property Brothers launch and similar interest-driven publications.

With a substantial customer base that is looking for premium, high-quality niche content, Coastal Living is a good example of a consumer-driven product with what I’d call an analog paywall,” said Meredith Magazines president Doug Olson, adding, “This direct-to-consumer model is ideal—it provides a high-quality product to passionate enthusiasts and at the same time, it’s a strong, profitable business.”

(I expect the news will be well received; I think I heard cheering from a couple of people on the team here a few minutes ago.)

“I’ll likely never own a waterfront cabin, especially as I’m a mountain rather than a water lover, but I still enjoy the aesthetic of Coastal Living, wrote Gail Reitenbach two years ago.  I find the freshness of whitewashed wood and ocean-hued upholstery comforting—even though those design ideas aren’t a strong match for Santa Fe, where I live,” she explained.

The company, seeing decreasing ad demand for the last few years, has been strategically looking at sales data to help them make the flip to a consumer-driven model. In the meantime, they report they’ve actually seen growth in print ads for some titles over the past year, along with successful subscription campaigns.

“This return to subscriptions is a strong testament to the power of the Coastal Living brand and the unique product we’re delivering to consumers,” said editorial director Sid Evans in a statement. “If you love the beach lifestyle, Coastal Living is a must buy. There’s just nothing else like it.”

Timing is everything … I just checked five people off my holiday shopping list with this news. A subscription to a favorite title? It’s on everyone’s wish list.