Old media is trying hard to avoid the appearance of, well, being old. Major market daily newspapers are in a fight to avoid the decline stage of the product life cycle. Magazines face a similar challenge as consumers use the Internet as an information source, one that can be more current than magazines that are published weekly or even less frequently.
How can magazines stem the flow of readers to new media platforms? Heavy doeses of advertising? Nope, to easy to ignore the direct mail subscription offers that appear in our mailboxes. Cutting subscription rates to make mags more enticing to consumers? Not worth the risk that increased subscriptions would offset lower revenues per subscription. Before we write an obituary for the magazine industry, Time, Inc. might have the answer.
Time is developing a service called Maghound. This service has been called the Netflix of the magazine industry by some experts. Maghound will give customers web access to multiple magazine titles each month (3 magazines for $4.95, 5 magazines for $7.95, or 7 magazines for $9.95). Customers can mix and match titles, changing them whenever they want. Maghound is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2008.
Persuading people to consume magazine content this way will be a challenge. We have become accustomed to getting so much information from the Internet at no charge. The ability to customize one’s subscription list at any time is a major selling point of this service. Not only would moving consumption of magazine content to the Internet benefit publishers through reduced costs for printing and postage, but readers’ movements through pages on a magazine’s web site can be measured. The ability to track the pages viewed and amount of time spent on pages will make advertising in these magazines’ web versions more attractive to marketers.