An Industry Gone Mad: Annual Magazine Subscriptions for $5!

December 1, 2009

Yesterday, and right after I wrote my blog about “Must Have” magazines rather than “Nice to Have” magazines I received an e mail inviting me to accept a great limited time offer to subscribe to a few magazines for a mere $5 each. I ordered 18, yes 18 magazine-subscriptions at a hefty cost of $90. Don’t rub your eyes, you read and saw that right. 18 magazines for less than a crisp C note (that is a $100 bill for the novice). What is wrong with that picture? A lot. Call me naive, but are we really still dreaming that the ad revenue is going to come back en force and we will go back to counting customers rather than finding customers who count?

How can you create a “Must Have” magazine when you are only charging $5 for an entire year? It is almost the price of one issue of some of the magazines offered in this “holiday special.” In an amazing, yet no longer surprising, this subscription solicitation comes from two major competing magazine companies: the Hearst Corp. and HFM. They joined forces for this “holiday offer.” This amazing deal contained all the magazines published by both companies. The list included such magazines as O, The Oprah magazine, Elle Decor, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping… you get the picture. The only magazine that offered half a year instead of a full year for the $5 cost was Elle magazine.
Take a look at the pictures from the offer and judge for yourself: Are we going nuts or there is some rhyme and reason behind the madness. I, for one, think we are still operating in the same state of coma that hit our industry in September of 2008. Every time I see signs of hope from this media company or the other, something big, such as this great offer, kills any signs of hope and tells me that we are still in a deep deep coma. A year for $5 is not a good recipe for success. Feel free to differ!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by gastropoda, Larry Bleiberg. Larry Bleiberg said: RT @MrMagazine: An industry gone mad. Annual magazine subscriptions for a mere $5. http://wp.me/p3FXF-Nh […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MrMagazine: An industry gone mad. Annual magazine subscriptions for a mere $5. http://wp.me/p3FXF-Nh

  3. Samir, you need to spend a lot of time learning the reality of magazine circulation. You are living in a dream world that’s not based on facts and the unfortunate realities of magazine circulation economics. Almost no magazine can charge what’s needed to support a publication without advertising. To survive on paid circulation you need low frequency (4 or 6x)and 36 to 48 pages per issue. And even those economics are dying.

    The economics of magazines clearly point to the end of print. Anyone who thinks print can survive long term is simply ignorant of the facts. It is appalling how few people in the industry understand circulation economics. And when you don’t understand the problem, you won’t find a solution.

  4. I have a young tenant who believes he can start a magazine aimed at the k-6 kidds.

    What say you?
    If he can convince me , I might help!

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