The Newsstand Model is About to Get Interesting

[responsive]targetnewsstand[/responsive]It was a come-together moment for industry leaders: Three major magazine publishers announced they are teaming up to peddle newsstand copies of their top fashion magazines, according to DeadTreeEdition.

This is big news.

Anyone even tangentially involved with the magazine industry knows that the newsstand model is facing serious challenges. And with the recent announcement of the demise of SID, the second largest magazine wholesaler in the U.S., those challenges got real in a hurry.

Many industry pundits have been pleading for publishers to be proactive in the manner of “physician heal thyself,” and it seems some are doing just that. Three biggies in the industry — Vogue, InStyle and Elle — are working with retail giant Target on a joint promotion this fall.

“The unprecedented promotion … will appear this autumn in Target stores during fall fashion season, the publishers revealed at last week’s Retail Marketplace 2014 conference. The offer: Buy any two of the fashion titles and get a $5 Target gift card as you check out,” according to a write-up from the event covered by DeadTreeEdition.

Doesn’t this amount to sleeping with the enemy? Not at all, according to the people putting the deal together.

“Our competition is not other magazines; it’s all of the things that readers are doing when they’re not looking at magazines,” says Joe Ripp of Time, Inc.

Echoing the sentiment that the old ways (aka old newsstand and distribution models) are forever changed, UK media consultant Jim Bilton notes “There’s no going back, so we’ve got to work together to survive in this brave new world.”

It’s not the first joint promotion of its kind, notes DeadTreeEdition: “Hearst and Meredith are among the publishers who have polybagged pairs of related titles to offer two-for-the-price-of-one deals at retail.”

“With publishers talking more than ever about cooperating to bolster retail sales, the three-way Vogue-InStyle-Elle tie-up is a logical next step. There was also talk of other joint ventures at the conference, such as creating an industry-wide mobile app to promote sales of magazines,” the article continues.

We expect to see more cooperative measures like this as publishers work together to promote their own success in the context of a growing industry, something many industry insiders have been calling for.  And we find it telling that while the Retail Marketplace conference was underway, TNG, the nation’s biggest magazine wholesaler, advised magazine publishers of its new terms and conditions in light of their takeover of most of the SID business. Seems they still think they are in charge of the magazine industry.

This is going to get interesting.