The Big Three Newsweeklies And Advertising

Clearly, stiff online competition has forced the Big Three News weeklies to develop unorthodox strategies in order to remain relevant in an increasingly digitized world. And the verdict is still out on whether or not those strategies are bearing fruit.

Time, in a flurry of change a year ago decided to change the magazine’s delivery day to Fridays from Mondays. Time magazine announced, boldly, in late 2006 that it would institute a new advertising system in contrast to the previous business model. Until then ads were sold based on the number of people who subscribed or bought a copy of the magazine at the news stand. Time also decided to cut the rate base by three-quarters of a million readers while attempting, simultaneously, to pursuade advertisers that ads should be based on the total number of readers — not just subscribers and newsstand buyers — including those who read someone else’s copy. Time’s reasoning anticipated a multimedia future, where eyeballs will count for more than print circulation figures.

Time’s newsstand price also rose to $4.95, and Newsweek’s followed soon after in December 2006. A little over a year has passed since those changes were enacted. From Mediaweek:

”’It’s not where I’d like it to be,’ (Ed McCarrick, president and worldwide publisher of Time Group) said. ‘I thought we’d be further ahead than where we were.’

”Asked why more advertisers haven’t warmed to the idea, he said, ‘I really don’t know — I think the newness of it and the approach. They approach magazines with a very conventional way of looking at them.”’

US News & World Report’s Mort Zuckerman declined FishbowlNY’s request for a comment.