The Value of Paid Circulation

June 8 2010, 6:56 AM
Folio, the leading publication covering the magaine industry, recently asked me why local magazines with paid circulation models seem to by thriving in a time when the market is being flooded with freebie upstarts. Here's what I had to say:
“In this kind of an economy, a paid circulation model is more of an asset than ever—for a couple of reasons,” says Dan Brogan, current president of CRMA and publisher of 5280 (which is up 7 percent in ad sales for the first half of 2010). “First, now more than ever, advertisers want to know that they’re going with a publication that readers actually want to read. They’re demanding more than just a pretty face.  Second, a paid circulation model forces you, as an organization, to have a relationship with your readers in a way that just doesn’t happen when you’re dumping bundles of magazines in restaurant lobbies or mailing them out to bulk lists. When you study renewal reports and newsstand sales results every single month, you get in touch with your market in ways that make your magazine better. You learn what readers want and what they don’t.”
You can read the rest of the article (which includes some interesting discussion in the comments section) here. Despite the difficult economy, 5280's circulation base has continued to thrive. I'll soon be posting some new data from a third-party research firm that shows just how extensive 5280's readership in the Denver market. Prepare to be surprised.