Article: Overseas, a Rosier Picture for Magazines
An nytimes.com interview with George Green, the chief executive of Hearst Magazines International gives an interesting insight into the differences in magazine business within US and the outside world (including India).
Some useful observations:
1) The United States is the only place where the postal service gives incentives for mailing magazines. About 90 percent of magazines in the US are sold by subscription, only 10 percent on newsstands. Outside the United States, that’s reversed.
2) Subscribers overseas do not expect a huge discount from the cover price. The US magazine business is driven entirely by ad revenue , but elsewhere it is driven by circulation as well as ads.
3) You hardly ever see newsstands in the United States anymore, but overseas you see them everywhere. Since publishers don’t mail many magazines, heavier paper is used to give a higher-quality look on the newsstand.
4) The concept of a rate base doesn’t exist in other countries. So you don’t have to spend a lot of money on promoting your new magazine to lots of readers. It can take more than three years for a new magazine to break even in the United States. Overseas, you can make money with your second issue.
And here is an interesting bit about Hearst presence in India:
“We’ve been in India for 10 years and still haven’t made much money. That’s a country where advertising rates and cover prices are low for everybody. We won’t leave, though.
If you want to consider yourself a truly international publisher, India is a place you have to be.”
You can read the entire interview here
Finally a not-so-rosy news:
Business 2.0, which I read off and on since 1998, is coming to a close with its October issue according to MediaPost.