Mequoda’s Daily newsletter has a report on how Computerworld magazine’s online websites are generating 1.5-2M unique users per month and a pre-tax profit margin of about 40-50%. Few print magazines or newspapers likely pull that kind of margin. Their online revenue has apparently nearly
…tripled from about 11 percent of the magazine’s total in 2000 to about 30 percent today.
And they’re doing it with a site that could be considered hard on the eyes. Now, it helps considerably that they’ve been around in print since 1967 and publish in over 60 countries. With that kind of offline visibility over so many years, they are very likely to have site visitors from all over the world. For print media with more local markets, is the potential for online profit still there? According to the Mequoda report, very likely, yes, but the transition over to the online world has to be effective (obviously).
My advice? Start heavily promoting your website offline, while you’re still in print, and market the website aggressively in print and online. Provide enough starter content online to build traffic, and post non-print content daily. Don’t hide away front page stories behind a subscription wall after a few days like the New York Times does. Why not? Because any blogger that links to you will peeve off their readers, and bloggers are likely to stop linking as a result.
I haven’t scanned the Computerworld site enough nor looked at the magazine recently, but there’s likely content unique to both mediums. And that’s okay. Keep one important thing in mind: in the 1990s at least, most magazine publishers would tell you that neither the cover price nor subscription fees ever cover the cost of print for a given issue. It’s always been advertising that keeps a mag afloat. So with information so free online, anyone that charges for theirs (beyond, say, ebooks, whitepapers, tutorials, reports, etc., and maybe not then) is likely to get a very unpleasant slap in the face when visitors don’t return.
Originally posted on March 22, 2007 @ 7:34 am