Online Subscriptions Offer Amazing Perks and Value.
Online publications are the rage and the future. They offer amazing value for the publisher, for the advertiser, and for the reader. They also offer more than significant cost reduction for all three players.
BACKGROUND: I moved to Charlotte in 1988. I brought as much of the Northeast with me as I possibly could. That included my subscription to The New Yorker magazine. The magazine doesn’t just have the best articles in the world; it also has the best cartoons in the universe.
The magazine comes out 47 times a year. As you can imagine, oftentimes, for one reason or another (as with your subscriptions), the magazine did not get read. Sometimes there would be an unread pile of five or six. Guilt would set in.
Finally after about eight or nine years, I stopped my subscription. Occasionally I would pick up one in the airport gift shop and read it on the plane and I continued to subscribe to the cartoon newsletter. It came to my email inbox with all the cartoons once a week. Then they changed it, and made you click onto their website in order to see the cartoons, so I quit reading it.
TODAY: This morning I got a random email listing the contents of this week’s New Yorker magazine. I guess they had my address and decided to quasi-spam me. I bit.
I clicked on the link and found out that for $59.95 a year, I could get a digital subscription that included the current issue, a one-year subscription, and access to EVERY back issue since 1925. Plus they throw in The New Yorker cartoon calendar. I couldn’t resist.
I bought the online version, and from now on I will only buy the online version of anything I want to subscribe to or read. Here’s why: I go on the airplane, I click The New Yorker magazine icon on my iPad. Then I read this week’s issue, I look at this week’s cartoons, and I can go back and look at nearly 5,000 other back issues that are searchable by content. Holy magazine, Batman!
REALITY QUESTIONS: Are they trying to discourage me from buying their printed issues? If you have an e-reader, why would you buy any printed magazine?
REALITY FACTS: Newsweek, which had more than 100 years of printed issues, STOPPED PRINTING their magazine. Now you can only get the magazine online.
TODAY: I used to subscribe to Selling Power magazine. It’s the voice of salespeople, sales tips, sales techniques, sales lists, and sales products.
THE FUTURE IS TODAY: They stopped printing the magazine a few months ago, and only offer an online version. Brilliant. Gerhard Gschwandtner, the founder, publisher, and visionary saw that print versions were declining in revenue, and it was time to decide on the future rather than lament the present.
REALITY: Online cuts costs. DRASTICALLY. Online makes advertising more affordable. Online offers more options for the reader to connect with the advertiser. With print ads, the reader has to make a call or go online and search. With online ads, the reader is already online and only has to click the ad to find out more, subscribe to a blog, get a video, go to the advertisers website, or buy something.
I’M ALL IN: Am I missing something here? Value, versatility, and instant access. Look for my ad in Selling Power magazine. It’s an ad I would have NEVER placed in the print version; an ad that is 50% less expensive than it was in their printed version; an ad that gives their reader (my prospective customer) instant access to my offer to buy.
FOOLS GOLD: Five years ago I had a talk with some Yellow Pages executives. I asked them how much longer the Yellow Pages would be printed, and when they would be switching to an online version. They smiled and proclaimed, “We’re not going to stop printing. The book is our cash cow.” And they changed the subject. In the last five years, the book has gone from a cash cow, to a cash calf, to a cash rump roast. And YP.com is more than ten years late to the dance.
Please don’t read this the wrong way. Print is not dead. In fact, it will always be alive. Many people still don’t have the ability to get online publications. But the market is making a HUGE shift. There are “only” a few hundred million e-readers and tablets, and a few hundred million more smart phones. The print impact felt by online availability is undeniable.
THINK ABOUT YOU: How much of an impact has your e-reader or tablet made on your reading habits? What are you subscribing to? Has online reading brought you greater convenience and availability? Easier access and more incentive to stay current?
And finally, what are your plans to make your products and services “online available”?
THINK ABOUT THIS: Every time you see someone reading on a tablet, they could be reading about you!