Pressflex Magazine Services

Navigation » MagBlog

Swedish mag mogul: sites for print sub sales

July 28, 2003 Said Jonas Bonnier, CEO of the Stockholm-based Bonnier Magazine Group, at the 34th FIPP Magazine Congress: "Our biggest single expenditure item is marketing costs. By far the biggest contributor to these is direct advertising. What if instead of producing, printing distributing all this advertising, we could attract new customers via the internet? Say 50% of all new accounts?" For a written version of his speech and his vision to other magazine publishers who, like himself, have poured a lot of money into unprofitable online operations, click here.

Consumer mag sites lag behind b2b

July 5, 2003 Web sites for consumer magazines are further away from break even and profitability than their b2b peers, a recent study by FIPP found. B2b sites, which were reviewed in an earlier study at the beginning of the year, have been more successful at attracting advertising and sponsorship revenues.

Both b2b and consumer sites have done will in terms of marketing. Almost two thirds (65%) of consumer magazines surveyed reported that they have gained significant number of new audiences via web.

63% of sites had some e-commerce capability, mostly subscription sales. Unfortunately the report does not discuss how successful magazines were in earning revenues with the help of this feature.

More than half of publishers have gained advertisers to their web site who do not advertise in the print product.

Only a quarter of the sites (26%) were making money, A whooping 79% of web sites were developed by dedicated, internal teams – which could explain the high proportion of loss making sites.

Jane Magazine takes bold steps to prove adworthiness

May 19, 2003 Jane Magazine has launched a series of promotional contests that require readers to purchase an advertires' product - and to prove to advertisers that magazine ads do drive business, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Readers who want to participate in an article writing competition must buy products affiliated with the promotion. They then enter the Universal Product Code from those purchases on the magazine's Web site. Readers are allowed to enter the contest more than once - provided they buy more products and have more products code to enter on the web site. : "print sub feeder"

April 30, 2003 is an important feeder of print subscriptions to the main magazine, says Jason Kint, VP & General Manager Online in an interview with Contentbiz.

Kint told Contentbiz: "A very, very high percent of Web users we're introducing to the magazine and providing a lot of benefit."

The site has "close to 3 million registered users" compared with 4.5 million readers of the pring magazine and 13 million listeners on its radio show.

With telemarketing, newsstands in trouble, mags should sell print subs online

April 5, 2003 Though this conclusion is made only in the last paragraph, this article on Mediapost suggests that making the most out of web marketing is the magazine industry's best hope for the coming year.

The article summarizes remarks made by David Ball, VP for consumer marketing at Primedia, at a conference on April 3 in Westchester, NY. Primedia provides a print subscription form at the end of each online article.

At small publishers newsstand sales are no longer profitable, because wholesalers demand payment not only for sales, but also for taking on a magazine. Telemarketing has been abused so much in recent years that potential buyers no longer trust calls. What is left? The Internet as a print subscription marketing tool.

Next Big Idea: Reality TV Magazines?

April 1, 2003 The next Big Idea in the magazine business will be titles following not a single reality show but a genre, predicts Michael Learmonth in this article in Folio.

Interactive magazin of 2003: again no business criteria

January 19, 2003 The UK's PPA has published its categories for the annual Magazine of the Year award. In the interactive cartegories (one for consumer, one for business mags), "judges will be looking for excellence in the development of an interactive product by a magazine publisher. Account will be taken of content, interactivity, and leverage of the brand within the market in which the product operates." Who cares?

We suggest the addition of another, all important criteria: the site that contributes the most to the bottom line of the parent magazine either directly or in terms of subscriptions. That would be worth paying attention to. The PPA would do a major service to its members by introducing such a category: most of them would have a lot to learn from the winners.

Nominations for the sleeping pill categories are due Jan. 30.

B2B mag sites cover 60% of web costs

January 16, 2003 B2B magazines cover 60% of the operating costs at their web sites from online revenues, including advertising, sponsorship and online subscriptions, according to an internet survey by the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP). The rest of the bill is picked up by their parent institutions. More than half of respondents still expected online efforts to expand in 2003. None of those involved in the survey believed either online activities or investment will decline in 2003.
Other interesting findings:

More . . . 

NYTimes: Magazines should turn to Internet for new subs

December 17, 2002 Magazine publishers have to reinvent their products faster and more often than in the past, and can no longer count on stable subscription rates opening advertising doors, an article in yesterday's New York Times concludes. Their best bet? The Internet as a subscription generator tool.

With postal rates rising and the newsstand wholesale market becoming concentrated, new, novel initiatives are the way to go, the article says. For the benefit of those with no NYTimes password:

"Reed Phillips, a managing partner of DeSilva & Phillips, who predicted that magazines will be putting increased efforts and money into using the Internet to lure readers who may be potential subscribers. The magazines are already using promotions on their individual Web sites to overcome the subscription gap created by the loss of sweepstakes.

'I think the big surprise in the coming year will be that the publishing industry will start talking about the Internet again," Mr. Phillips said. "They have very few options, and the Web is the one source of subscriptions that is still growing.'"

The top 5 subscription marketing mistakes

December 12, 2002 2003 will be the year of tough subscription sales for online vendors. As if numbers for 2002 had not been disappointing enough, next year publishers will realize that those who converted were the "low-hanging fruit" - the biggest fans who were the easiest to convert, writes Contentbiz in an article published yesterday. They also explain the five most typical mistakes subscription pages make. The must read lessons apply to online sellers of print and web subscriptions alike.

More . . . 

Potomac Tech Wire
E-newsletter florishes where three mags shut down

November 15, 2002
Three tech magazines have closed shop over the last few weeks in Washington, and a tiny e-mail only newsletter with no original content remains the single player in what used to be a competitive market place of reporting on wanna be tech companies in the D.C. area. Read this article in yesterday's Washington Post about tiny Potomac Tech Wire.

Non-celebrity babes are first to cost UK e-mag readers
No longer free

November 14, 2002 will be the first major UK consumer title to charge for its content online. Coming soon, Emap, the magazine's publisher will charge 1 pound a month for reading the "hottest non-celebrity babes" section of the site, according to FIPP.

Pay up, or look elsewhere.

Publishing sectors peddling against each other on Tablet PCs

November 12, 2002
Here is an entertaining piece of commentary by Vin Crosbie on how magazine, newspaper and book publishers are refusing to cooperate when it comes to adapting a common platform for reading their content in Tablet PCs. Asks Crosbie:

"Does each sector think that people will want to install and run different software to read different sectors' publications? If so, that's a dumb and doomed idea. Any solution designed for just one sector of publishing will fail to achieve critical mass in the consumer marketplace, plus thwart the other sectors' potential for success. A common Open Source solution is needed — a standard software format by which people can use any electronic device to read any newspaper, magazines, book, catalog, holiday card, or love note."

Tablet PCs preloaded with 4 magazines

November 11, 2002
HP and Toshiba are preloading their new Tablet PCs with the digital editions of four magazines: BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Technology Review and PC Magazine, reports Adweek's Technology Marketing. Is this a signal that the market has finally endorsed digital magazines? Or is this a mis-guided effort by magazines to promote themselves on devices that have been designed to read handwriting and anyway cost four to five time as much as normal PCs? charges for mission critical content: company gossip

November 4, 2002
Mbites reports from Online Content UK's seminar last week: first tried to be scientific about which stotries to charge for - those that appeared to have the most business critical content. After not much success, they decided to let the public decide, and started charging for stories which got the most eyeballs, "usually the ones about the salacious inside dealings of a company. There's nothing like a little tabloid attitude on a broadsheet."

How real are your subscriber numbers?

November 3, 2002
Another article, this time from Folio, on the same theme: the economic downturn is forcing advertisers to look at their spending. This in turn means that magazines' hyped circulation figures may finally get some scrutiny. Or, publishers and readers alike, will continue to live with the "dubions math".

NYT: In tough world of no ads, mags forced to review sub rates

October 31, 2002
Discount offers have lowered the average magazine subscription rate by 17% over the last five years - a trend that did not bother anyone while advertisers were lining up to spend money. In the current tougher times, however, advertisers are not impressed by the give-aways that magazine publishers still call "wantedness". The New York Times reports.

Invoice print readers online

October 29, 2002
This interesting commentary by Steve Outing gives two reasons for making online invoicing the default even for print readers:

1. Cheaper and more efficient.
2. Steers customers to the site.

Food for thought.

Research: don't fool youself by charging for content

October 2, 2002
Though all of his examples are from newspapers, this excellent piece by Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates is worth reading. The article, published on the Digital Edge site of the Newspaper Association of America, discusses why charging for online subscriptions makes no sense. The article includes research findings from a dozen local papers, and shows that in no case did conversion to the paid service exceeded 2.6% of readers.

Successful mag blurs ed-ad separation
Southern Living
— Are you tipping off an advertiser? (Illustration from Southern Progress web site.)

October 2, 2002
Southern Progress Corp. is not shy about its practice of allowing advertisers to influence editorial content.

More . . . 

Bild online to replace bundled ads with paid content as revenue model

October 1, 2002 currently earns much of its 30 million euro annual budget by forcing advertiser's in the newspaper's Saturday supplement to run their ads online as well. Looks like a clever bundled model, but for not much longer. To support its 100-strong online team the paper will offer a 5-euro per month subscription to its content online, Financial Times Deutschland reported yesterday. What a loss that they are leaving a proven model!

Texas paper finds the roots: its name

September 26, 2002
Fort Worth's daily will replace its dot com era URL,, with its good old title,, The Editor and Publisher reported yesterday. We wonder how much dot com consultants were paid in 1999 to suggest the abbreviation, which is also the code for the Dallas Fort Worth airport. The paper's management must have realized: it is not the airport, whose name they need to reinforce, but the paper's.

Print ad sales network for trade magazines... online

September 25, 2002
A new online ad buying and selling marketplace for print magazines,, is set to launch Oct 1st. The site will initially focus on the enterntainment industry, but expects to roll out into 84 different industries from agriculture to real estate.

Writes Anne Holland in ContentBlog: "We've all seen too many B2B e-marketplaces crash and burn after announcing grandiose plans over the past few years to have high expectations for a new one. But, it's worth looking into if you are a trade publisher -listings are f*ree."

AOP and PPAi launch legal handbook for online publishers

September 23, 2002
Members of the UK's Association of Online Publushers and PPAi will be able to get a legal handbook for online publishers next month, the AOP announced. The book will deal with regulatory and contractual issues such as content rights, intellectual property, defamation and online advertising.

0.3% of WeatherBug readers opt to pay
Weather Bug

September 20, 2002
Just 35,000 of WeatherBug's 13 million users have opted for the recently introduced paid services at the year-old weather site, Steve Outing reports in Poynter's blog E-Media Tidbits. That is a rate of 0.3%, which "is fine. What's not so wise are those sites (especially some newspapers) that decide to make their entire content paid-subscriber-only."

Competing with TV, magazine covers become dull
Good Housekeeping - 1917
— Housewives 80 years ago were considered sophisticated enough to appreciate design. Good tast has been replaced by celebrities since.

September 20, 2002
Magazine covers are boring and uniform, complains Coury Turczyn in a fascinating piece on, comparing today's magazine covers with their witty predecessors from some 60 years ago. "Celebrity worship and bad taste" have procuded covers with film stars and headlines - versus a cartoonish interpretation of the magazine's content in the 30s. The article includes a "face-off" section, where readers cam compare for themselves the cover design of today and yesterday.

Magazine job bank launching Oct. 1

September 19, 2002
A flood of U.S. magazine job openings are expected to come online next week, when the Magazine Publishers of America launches its MPA Job Bank. Use of the Job Bank will be free for jobseekers.

More . . . 

Key category missing from AOP award list

September 13, 2002
The UK's Association of Online Publishers has just posted its shortlist for its 2002 AOP internet awards. Running for titles such as "Best Design" and "Best launch," the shortlist is the Who's Who of the British online publishing industry.

Unfortunately, there is one crutial category missing from the awards: "Best ROI". Is it because none of AOP's still overblown internet teams could hope to even be shortlisted?

New BT payment service makes online sales easier
BT click&buy

September 10, 2002
A new service launched by BT yesterday BT click&buy should make it simpler for readers to pay for content online. The pay-as-you-go scheme allows publishers to charge readers on a per article basis, and the micropayments are deducted from a reader's BT click&buy account. This is the first time that a micropayment scheme, second nature to web users in the U.S. and Germany, will be available to British consumers and publishers.

Two of the 24 sellers who have signed up so far are print magazines selling content: Internet magazine charges readers 50p per archived article; the Online Recruitment Magazine charges readers 6 pounds to download its archived issues in pdf format for 30 days.

The disappointing magazine success recipe

September 6, 2002
Today's most successful magazines are in fact catalogues, listings and "television on paper", argues an article in yesterday's Folio. Gone are the days when readers cared about insight, narrative or analysis, the article argues.

Trend: dot.coms launch mags?

August 28, 2002
Salon is the newest to consider launching a print edition, EPN World Reporter wrote yesterday, quoting various sources. Now, this is diversification at its best. This move, if happens, should deal another blow to advocates of cannibalization. The strategy by Salon, and other dot.coms that have already started print magazines, is just a new approach to the print/web symbiotic business model we have always been advocating: they have the marketing vehicle, and they now need to create the product it markets.

Oxygen learning the lesson: web site = marketing tool

August 27, 2002
A web site is better viewed as a marketing vehicle rather than a money furnace, another web content provider admitted today. will now become a promotional tool for Oxygen Media's cable network from a full-blown content site targeting women, Yahoo! News reported.

"The online side is simply not structured in a way that it can sustain itself economically. Therefore, in order to do the right thing for Oxygen's business overall — we need to make some significant changes to that part of our business," Yahoo News! quoted Oxygen's chief executive and chairwoman Geraldine Laybourne.

Pass-along rate ups mag readership

August 26, 2002
Magazine circulation is down - we have all know that. But readership is up, according to a recent study, which is reviewed in Media Life Magazine. The research by MRI, whose site is presently down, has documented that readership of the 171 major U.S. magazines is up 5.3% in four years. This means pass along rates have risen substantially since 1998. Readers are getting cheap, but they are still curious.

Back to sqaure 1: AOL to use content as marketing tool

August 23, 2002
After five years of leasing space to content providers, AOL has now returned to its old policy of using content as a marketing tool, the New York Times reported yesterday. That trend should be welcome by magazines: they already have content that is readily available as a cheap marketing tool. They should not be afraid to use it - and then benefit offline.

Billing for Content is about Content, not Billing

August 22, 2002
Charging visitors for content involves much more than password protecting the site and setting up an online payment mechanism. Success depends on the kind of content on offer, marketing, billing and legal compliance issues, as a seminar on Oct. 1 by Van Dusseldorp & Partners is scheduled to discuss. If any material is posted online, we will review it from the prospective of small publishers.

Online content sales: the number game debate

August 21, 2002
How excited should you get about a recent report by the Online Publishers Association about American consumers spending $675 million on online content? Depends on the kind of content you care about. A debate last week between Vin Crosbie and Rick Bruner shows just how relative the numbers are: what may be defined traditionally as content could account for only $140 million of the lavish spending. If you just want to password protect your existing content, this is the pie you will need to get a piece of. The rest was money spent on other content such as online services, music downloads and dating sites. Bruner is right in saying that as long as the $675 million is properly defined, the inflated figure is not misleading. However, B2B content under no definition would fit into consumer spending. And from the report it is unclear how much of "Business Content" and "Research" is actually B2B.

Rather than entering the number game and doing our own math from the report's raw numbers, we would like to draw publishers' attention to the sad fact that most of them do NOT have anything but traditional content. So before you get too excited, read the fine print.

If you insist on charging for content, 3 simple rules to follow

August 20, 2002
Steve Outing's latest column on the trend toward paid-for content is wordy, but makes 3 excellent points that small publishers should take to heart:

1. Keep enough free content on the site so that search engines have something to index. Otherwise, all of today's search engine visitors will vanish - even before they were asked to pay.

2. Small publishers should form content networks - with a single subscription buying content on several sites, which would allow them to better compete for online funds: "With only so much money available (and willingness) to pay for online content and a wildly growing pool of content costing money, we're setting ourselves up for a serious supply and demand imbalance."

3. Payment needs to be painless - so offer various methods and make the process easy for readers who are arriving via a search engine or other referrer and NOT via the home page of the site.

10 years late IFRA to focus on online profits
Beyond the Printed World

August 19, 2002
IFRA is inviting deep pocketed online executives to listen to two days of Initiatives for profit at its October Beyond the Printed World conference in Barcelona. It has taken conference organizers 10 years and 10 conferences to come to terms with the business logic: "Above all, if publications are to thrive in the long term, we cannot afford to abuse our cash cows - the printed products - to cross-subsidise online operations for very much longer."

As far as we at Pressflex are concerned the road to a real ROI on online operations is simple, and does not require a pilgrimage to the IFRA/WAN/FIPP event in Barcelona:

1. Do not hire dedicated online staff.
2. Regularly add real content to the site from the printed magazine.
3. Optimize for Google.
4. Place prominent print subscription buttons on the site.

Visitors who find your content in search engines will take care of the rest: Enough of them will subscribe to your printed magazine to ensure a healthy ROI.

In this new MagBlog we will be watching online magazine trends closely and direct you to interesting novelties, articles or commentary.

Agree? Disagree? Have an idea? Send it to:

Pressflex Magazine Services Newsletter

Search this site

How many subs does your publication's site generate weekly?
 No site
 1 or 2
 3 to 5
 6 to 15
 16 to 30
 31 to 100
 Don't know

Current Results

Telephone: +36 1 328 0602 | Fax: +36 1 267 5461
All written material © Pressflex LLC 1998-2004
Digital Imagery © 2001 PhotoDisc, Inc.