For the past five years, print magazines have been trying to figure out how to harness the power of the web in a way that actually makes them money. And now, it seems, Cosmopolitan has finally figured out that sweet-spot formula–or at least, made great strides towards it.
The magazine is reporting that they’ve reached 100,000 paid digital subscriptions–a milestone for print magazines, according to AdAge. Cosmo has been on the Zinio platform since 2005, but with the advent of iPad, Nook and Kindle Fire in recent years, the mag has seen a significant increase in their digital subscriptions. Part of the secret to their success in the digital sphere is that the magazine requires print subscribers to pay separately for the digital edition–a strategy that sets them apart from other leaders in the field like Wired and People.
What’s more, Cosmo actually charges more money for their digital subscriptions than for print. A print-only subscription to the mag will set you back $15 a year, or $13 a year for a three-year commitment, whereas Cosmo charges $19.99 per year for digital-only subscriptions for the iPad and Zinio. IPad subscriptions are also available for $1.99 a month, while Fire and Nook subscriptions are available monthly only, at $1.99 a month (or $23.88 annually).
It’s a victory for the magazine who despite consistently killing it at the newsstands, shared the uncertain future of all print media. “A couple of years ago, the big question was what’s going to happen to magazines like Cosmo in the future,” Kate White, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, told AdAge. “There was a little bit of anxiety. What this has done is say that our content will rule and will thrive. Women want our content, and they’ll get it on a variety of platforms.”
White added that their success, in part, is due to the magazine’s practice of ensuring digital and print content is properly synthesized. “No one works [just] on the website or the Cosmo for Guys app,” she told AdAge, saying that the team has made a point of hiring developers in-house to work directly with editorial staffers.
And while this is all certainly good news for Cosmo–what does it mean for the rest of the print world? Will more magazines start charging separately for digital subscriptions? Will digital-only subscriptions outpace print-only subscriptions, in terms of profit?
Only time will tell…