Traditional Home Once Again Offers Print Subscriptions

A year ago, Meredith Corp. switched their Traditional Home title away from their ad-funded model and toward a consumer-driven newsstand-only model. Now, they are taking the consumer-driven model one step further and relaunching a print subscription for the title.

“Starting with its Fall issue, out later this month, readers will have the option of purchasing $20 annual subscriptions to the now-quarterly shelter magazine, which carries a relatively high, $12.99 cover price on newsstands,” writes Greg Dool in Folio:.

As Dool explains, Meredith has already made this shift to premium pricing and fewer ads with other titles, including Coastal Living last November. Yet they haven’t applied it across the board for their titles, like Better Homes & Gardens or Shape, both of which are more ad-driven newsstand titles with bargain subscription pricing.

“It’s really kind of a financially driven analysis to figure out when the model flips for a specific brand from being more advertising-driven to more consumer-driven, and we’re looking at that over time,” Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty explained on an earnings call late last year, Dool notes.

With newsstand exposure down during the stay-at-home orders, consumers have been more interested in subscriptions, with some titles and publishers seeing surges.

“Offering consumers home delivery is a logical next step based on the overwhelmingly positive response of readers and the success of Cooking Light and Coastal Living‘s pivot to Meredith’s consumer-driven model,” said Meredith Magazines president Doug Olson in a statement last week. “It’s a profitable and innovative way for us to deliver our desired print brands like Traditional Home to our passionate and loyal readers.”

The pandemic certainly didn’t create the trend toward higher-end special interest publications but it does help confirm that consumers welcome this model. Since magazines are rooted in subjects that really matter to people – food, fashion, film, health, home, hobbies – we crave a way to stay connected to those things. During difficult times, the majority of people claim that focusing on their passions helps them cope. So it’s no surprise that right now many magazine publishers are reporting booming subscription rates and higher digital content audiences.

Given audience interest in all things home these days, we expect this new subscription strategy will be do very well indeed.