If you ask Julian Thorne of Dennis Publishing why UK subscription revenues are up, he won’t hesitate with the answer.
“Like many magazine publishers we are seeing continued growth in our print subscription business especially with titles such as The Week and MoneyWeek which are undoubtedly benefiting from the increased appetite for news curation and financial information,” Thorne said in an interview with Magnetic Media UK.
Curation has long been a challenge in our digital age, often cited as one of the compelling features of print magazines. Now, when news and information matter more than ever, getting it from sources you trust is critical. Whether its factual information, financial advice or passion-based content, magazine audiences know what they want. And Dennis is delivering.
“The Week Junior has been our standout performer as it helps parents solve the problem of inspiring and engaging curious kids and at the same time not becoming too addicted to screens,” Thorne adds. “Our latest The Week Junior subscription campaign which includes a free download designed to improve children’s health and wellbeing is working particularly well.”
The Week was already one of the fastest growing print magazines of the last decade, well before the pandemic made learning from home our go-to and leaving parents with little guidance. The lockdown has only amplified the existing need for lifestyle and passion-based content.
For Thorne, the growth doesn’t end with magazine subscriptions. Their audience is responding well to other paid-content strategies.
“We are experimenting with a registration strategy on some of our websites for some of our content and are very encouraged by the early data on conversion to paid subscription content in print and digital format,” Thorne said. “There is a clear correlation between content engagement and conversion and given magazine publisher’s passion for creating engaging content we are excited about what this means for our future digital subscription revenues.”
What does this mean for their ad partners? In a word, it’s “engagement” … and it’s a very good thing.
“We know from anecdotal evidence from our call centre staff that our subscribers more than ever value the arrival of our print magazines through the letter box,” Thorne notes. “This trusting, emotional connection with our brands translates incredibly well from the doorstep to digital domain too, with heightened engagement across both. Advertisers looking to connect regularly with highly engaged consumers in a relaxed frame of mind in their own homes should certainly consider advertising in magazines with high subscription bases.”
The magazine industry demonstrated in fast motion what we’ve really known all along — a trusting audience that is truly engaged is everything to a publisher and its ad partners. Now too we know the relationship is best served direct, rather than relying on the whims of third-party platforms.
“What the pandemic has emphasised is the importance of direct customer relationships through both print and digital channels without intermediaries,” Thorne concludes. “The stronger those relationships become the easier it becomes to sell other products and services to those customers along with the subsequent data insights and data driven products that our commercial partners crave.”
If you can give your audience — readers and ad partners — something they crave, you’ve found the sweet spot.