Ooh, ooh, ooh, I just got my copy of Aug 2002 Circulation Management Magazine with a cover story on circulation data analysis. The editors collected all of the ABC audit results for America's top consumer magazines that are audited (magazine publishers that don't take ads, such as Consumer Reports and Reiman Publishers are not reported here). Why should you care?
Because some of the numbers are kinda neat from a pricing standpoint for consumer online subscriptions. Rightly or wrongly I think that consumers pay for content, not packaging. Consumer magazines have spent millions price testing their brains out. These prices are to some degree more scientifically arrived at than practically any subscription Web site I know of (with the exception of AmericanGreetings.com's ecard sites). Here's the breakdown:
Average weekly mag sub price: $47.74 year
Average fortnightly mag sub price: $30.14 year
Average monthly and less frequent sub price: $15.01 year
Which I must say makes me think if you were to rely on sub income alone, it looks like fortnightly is the way to go. You can make
double the money than a monthly can but only pay for certain admin costs (accounting, site hosting, long publisher luncheons, etc) once. Unless your ad sales are incredible, weekly's not worth it; ouch. Does this translate to online? Quite possibly.
Makes me remember back when everyone said you have to have fresh content daily or you won't get traffic. Then a friend of mine made a big stink to her audience about updating her site weekly. Instead of being ho-hum expected daily, it became An Event. Her customers actually haunt her site every Thursday at noon when the site's supposed to update. She saves money on creating and putting up new stuff daily.
BTW: If you want to read the entire Circ article yourself, I'm sure it's for sale cheap at the magazine's site: