Monday, October 12, 2009

Serious UK magazine sell subs as a group

A group of 15 magazines in Great Britain are collaborating to sell themselves as a "serious" group. These titles, which in the U.S. have come to be called "thinkies", have banded together for circulation purposes, often at very significant discounts.

According to a report in Folio: more than 1.3 million leaflets will be distributed (800,000 inside the group’s magazines, the rest in other magazines and newspapers) to direct readers to a the Cultural Publications Group's website where they can browse the group’s magazines and order subscriptions.
And, depending on how many issues are ordered, some subscription prices have been discounted more than 70 percent. One offer, for three issues of Lonely Planet magazine, for example, costs roughly $1.60. Another offer, for six issues of The Week, is free. That’s right. Completely free.
The titles include some of the most important magazines on that side of the pond: BBC Music Magazine, Countryfile Magazine, Focus, Geographical - the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, Granta, The Guardian Weekly, the London Review of Books, Lonely Planet Magazine, New Scientist, The Oldie, The Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement, Time and The Week.
"We all share the belief that good writing can still make a difference, with magazines that inform, enlighten, engage and entertain," the group's website says.
The service is offered through U.K.'s biggest subscription agency, 3PM, which claims to put listed titles before 50,000 people a week and to have moved over 120,000 paid subscriptions for publishers in the last year.

3PM ran a similar system from 2002 to 2005.
“All the magazines taking part are very savvy sub marketers group co-organizer Don Brown wrote in an email to Folio:. (Brown is business development director for 3PM.) “The promotion allows them to cross sell to the other group members and to have visibility in media that they may not ordinarily be able to afford … The related benefit is that because all response data will be shared among the group, titles will be able to target the third party media that has been most successful for them.”
While the Folio: columnist Jason Fell expressed some scepticism about such a collaboration working in the U.S., there are great similarities with the cooperative subscription campaign mounted annually by Magazines Canada, with a free-standing insert distributed across Canada and a Buy 2, Get 1 Free offer to some 170 titles (in 2009).

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