Dynamist Blog

What Are Magazines For? Cont'd

Reader James Hewes writes:

I'm not sure I entirely agree with your blog entry on 'What Are Magazines For'.

The model you describe certainly holds true in the US. However, in the UK and elsewhere in Europe it is possible to publish magazines that survive solely on the basis of their circulation revenue (barring some small, specialised advertising revenue).

The company I work for, BBC Magazines, for example, publishes 'Sky At Night', an astronomy magazine. The circulation is only 30,000 but it can charge a high cover price because it is linked to a community of interest that is passionate about their subject and prepared to pay.

I think that point is key--that a magazine's abililty to tap into a community of shared interest is still valid (and growing) in specialised markets. Consumers in that space want longer, more in-depth and contemplative pieces, and are less keen on 'burst' delivery of content.

I'm the Head of Licensing for BBC Magazines, by the way, and reached your piece via Warren Ellis' website.

Sothe real question is, Why are Americans so cheap? Why won't they pay enough for magazines to support them without lots of advertising?

UPDATE: Tim Worstall is highly skeptical that BBC Magazines could make it without all that free TV advertising.

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