Monday, December 12, 2016

Rogers Magazine Service is shutting down today

Rogers Magazine Service, the largest continuous magazine subscription service in Canada, is shutting down today. It is not a surprise; it is an already announced outcome of the decision by Rogers Communications to move many of its consumer magazines away from print to digital, in whole or in part. 

Its shutdown will hurt the circulation efforts of many magazines, of course. But it helped introduce many Canadians to magazines, often with an incentive of Air Miles or Aeroplan points and, once signed up, they could easily keep paying every month or 3 months on their credit card. It was the continuous renewal dream of circulators everywhere.

It began in 1999 when Rogers (Michael Fox played a big role) thought that they could sell both Canadian and American magazines just as well as Time Inc. was starting to do. Many non-Rogers titles took advantage of the cost-effective channel. Customers have been able to access titles online and through bill inserts, among other means. 

Sue Phillips, the well-regarded director of multi-magazine circulation, outlined in a widely circulated memo this week some of the metrics of this unquestioned business success:
  • It grew from  an offering of 8 Rogers magazines to a $6.5 million revenue business with over 175 magazines and 220,000 active continuous service subscriptions. 
  • Publisher authorizations were obtained from over 50 top publishers in Canada and the U.S. - both English and French. 
  • In the past 4 years over 90% of RMS subscriptions were sold online. 
  • The RMS website had over 14,000 customer ratings and reviews. 
  • Over the years, affiliate marketing programs were built with virtually every financial institution in Canada – CIBC, TD, RBC, BMO, Amex, Scotiabank, Citi - and partnered with many retailers and loyalty programs.
  • RMS also provided valuable history and numbers that helped in the launch of the Next Issue Canada (later, and now, Texture) in 2013. More RMS subscribers migrated to Texture than from any other internal source. 
  • The closed RMS website will now link to a Texture offer.

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