Friday, July 28, 2017

Magazines against the Wall?

A near-impenetrable wall once separated editorial from advertising.

But with ad-income in decline—and without hope of turnaround—magazine publishers are capitalizing on their editorial prestige to create new revenue streams, says Ryan Derousseau in Folio:
  • Readers of New York trust its writers' recommendations about what's worth buying. So the publisher has started to rake in dough from affiliates via outbound links in the articles on its website. Whenever readers click to a partner's website, money changes hands. The publisher's policy: to plug only products "the editors or writers stand behind.” Affiliate revenue is growing 40% a month, and has inspired the publisher to open pop-up shops at festivals.
  • The Atlantic has become advertisers' digital agency, exploiting its advantage in measuring readers' clicks. Besides audits, the publisher creates and runs entire content-focused, multichannel campaigns for advertisers. The campaigns can include sponsored pieces of original journalism. The in-house agency is the fastest growing division of the company. It expects its revenue to rise 32% this year.
  • Time is licensing its portfolio of brands to retail outlets. Readers can find kitchenware, bed linens, rugs and other merchandise in stores that are branded Real Simple, People, Food & Wine, and Southern Living. Licensed products sold in Dillard's have grown to 110 in two years.
Does monetizing readers' trust in these ways endanger that very thing?
Probably not.

Audiences are so used to paid sponsorships, they give them no thought.

Nobody turned off the last NCAA Tournament because every other player's jersey has a Nike swoosh. James Bond's Omega watch didn't prevent Skyfall from becoming a box-office smash. Mentions of the Peninsular and Oriental Company in Around the World in Eighty Days didn't stop Jules Verne's novel from becoming a classic. And Esquire readers ate up David Ogilvy's take on oysters for Guinness.

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