The Web Spurs Magazine Print Circulation

July 8, 2010 by Thad McIlroy

Two new studies by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) show just how important the Web is to circulation growth.

The more interesting study, Subscription Sales on the Internet — Trend Analysis 2006-2010, involved 28 of the largest consumer magazines in the U.S. reporting for the years 2006-2009. Internet subscription sales increased 78% at a time when total subscription sales declined about 6%. As a percent of new direct-to-publisher orders Internet subs increased from 13% in 2006 to 24% in 2009.

The second study, Subscription Sales on the Internet-2009 Actual-2010 Forecast, involved 14 publishers with 62 titles. Among the report highlights are indications that the Internet subscriptions are almost entirely new subscribers. Over 85% of these Internet subscriptions are so-called DTP (direct-to-publisher) rather than via an agency, such that the publisher retains nearly all of the income.

Email reminders rather than site visits spurred nearly three-quarters of the online renewals.

It’s been a good few weeks for publishers. Apple’s iPad demonstrates great promise for “monetizing” online content. Add in this new subscription data and publishers might begin to calm their fears of a future in an online universe.

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