Magazines should sell products to offset ad losses

By Brendan Coyne | 25 March 2013

Magazine publishers should follow the lead of newspapers and start selling readers products to make up for a short fall in print advertising losses that digital platforms will not recover.

That is the key message coming out of North America. Speaking to Paul McIntyre in the Australian Financial Review, the head of global magazine and book publisher Rodale Inc, Maria Rodale, claimed that advertisers were returning to print, but not at traditional levels of spend. With tablet subscriptions plateauing at about 20-30 per cent of print subscriptions, Rodale said the company was diversifying to offset ad revenue loss: magazine platforms would start selling products.

That road has been well trodden by newspapers and has been touted for some time as a potential saviour for content providers with niche audiences. Speaking to AdNews last month Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond said it was a logical step for publishers with audiences that trusted them to diversify into e-commerce.

In the UK, most of the major newspapers have been flogging holidays, insurance, wines, books and taking a cut of price comparison website revenues via white-label partnerships for years.

Magazines in Australia are starting to dip their toes in the water. However, executive director of Magazine Publishers of Australia, Robin Parkes, said the organisation had no data as yet "as it's a market still in infancy so not reported anywhere."

"I think it is very much in strategic plans but implementation is early days," she told AdNews.

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