Saturday, December 27, 2008

Magazine Publishers Experiment with Ad Selling Strategies.

Digital magazine editions are set to be more commonplace with both direct to consumer as well as business to business offers. However what rate card will publishers charge? Will it be based on impressions or merely a flat rate, or remain tethered to the print copy?

A number of specialist niche magazines demonstrate that there is no current standard approach and that many models are being tried.

Item Publications produces digital editions of its Interface Technology magazine charging 12% of the equivalent ad in the print edition and has achieved a 66% penetration of print customers also buying into the digital edition. Hi-Torque Publications, who publish specialist bike magazines such as Road Bike Action, Mountain Bike Action and Dirt Wheels magazines just charge the print edition and today the advertises get the digital advert as a value added benefit. Sporting News Today, is a "digital only" daily publication using inserted adverts and adserver networks for revenue. eWeek who produce a different "digital version" to their print edition are audited by BPA Worldwide and charge each independently. Others have given the print edition away and charged just for the digital advertising based on known subscribers.

All that is known in the physical world is that an individual subscribed and received a copy. Reality is that no one knows if the physical magazine was even opened! Tracking the digital copy should be easier in that every digital page impression can be monitored and even tracked to the subscription. But if the page isn’t opened why would an advertiser pay? It raises the question of whether digital adverts should be charged retrospectively based on performance and not upfront based on subscribers.

Digital isn’t just about taking the physical copy and converting it to digital. The business models have to change to reflect usage and access and no one wants to pay when they aren’t being viewed.

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