Thursday, May 13, 2004

Inbox Report: Zinio Pushes Heavily Discounted Magazine Subscriptions

In addition to a free one-year subscription to eWeek, the electronic magazine delivery service Zinio is offering via email a wide range of premium magazine subscriptions at radically reduced prices - 66 percent off of Trucks, 92 percent off of PC Magazine, and so on. Steep discounts on magazines are nothing new, but it's worth noting that these are prices oftentimes well below those of online services for paper-based subscriptions such as magazines.com and appear to require less multi-year lock-in. In other words, slowly but surely magazines appear to be adjusting to the realities of how content is valued in an electronic era and recognizing that trying to keep targets of gross revenues based on paper-based production costs is of not much use. But still magazines and journals lag most of the content industry in trying to establish viable electronic business models that leave print behind as a revenue basis. As contextual advertising services come into their own as a tool for aware ad agencies to make high-value ad placements in online sites (check out IndustryBrains for an apparently successful and growing service in this area) that will provide them with the margins to sustain themselves with appropriate creative and marketing services, expect this to change more rapidly than even magazine and journals publishers may imagine. The Zinio model of electronic-format mass print distribution mostly props up ad agencies who are unwilling or unable to make this transition, along with an industry that needs to change its metrics for measuring success very rapidly. There are some clear paths out of this mess for Zinio, but so far paths that have not been ventured down, as far as we can see.
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