With the growth of the internet and the golden age of online advertising setting in, you would think that great magazines would be growing their online audiences and positioned for success. The truth is. They’re not. They largely missed the boat to take their brand equity and use it as a growth vehicle when it comes to the web.
I can’t find a single brand name magazine demonstrating exceptional growth online today. People Magazine is quantified, which means it’s pretty accurately measured and it’s online audience is flat at best for the last year which means it’s losing share, at the same time entertainment content is one of the most ravenously consumed content categories online.
Given the Magazines history of web success, largely hampered by old school publishing cost structures, trying to hold an existing format to the new format and lack of technical talent I expect them to perform poorly on tablets as well. Magazine publishers will recreate their magazines for tablets and layer a dual model with ads and subscriptions, some people will migrate their subscriptions to tablets, some will keep the printed version. All in all, this won’t change their growth trajectory.
Here is a winning growth formula for Magazine Publishers on the web and tablets
1. Create exceptional value in a connected experience that provides value beyond content. Let readers build their own brands, give significant incentives, and empower readers to use the brand equity.
2. Make fostering community the number one priority.
3. Create a cost structure that works with minimal consumption so it’s setup to scale.