I saw two interesting, related articles about magazines this morning. First, the parent of magazine The Economist reported profit and subscriber growth, bucking the larger downward industry trend:
The London-based company, which publishes its namesake magazine, reported approximately $92 million in operating profit, up 26 percent over the previous 12-month period. Revenue was up 17 percent to roughly $514.2 million.
The group reportedly has cut as many as 130 positions, reducing its global workforce to 1,100.
The Economist’s worldwide circulation grew 6.4 percent during the period to 1,390,780, the company said. Ad revenue at Economist.com was up 29 percent while page views were up 53 percent.
I wrote previously about the contrasts between success at The Economist and its opposite at US newsweeklies Time and Newsweek.
The second article is about how magazines are looking to the iPhone as a new platform for distribution:
Esquire, Harvard Business Review and Bon Appetit are among the magazine titles that will launch iPhone applications in coming months through a partnership with developer ScrollMotion, which also created the new and very successful People magazine app. The company behind the Iceberg Reader for iPhone e-book versions of best-sellers such as Stephenie Meyer’sTwilight is exploring numerous distribution and revenue models with a range of magazines, newspapers and book publishers. The company counts Hearst, Condé Nast, The Slate Group and Time Inc. among its partners.
After the newly released Apple iPhone 3G S sold over 1 million units last weekend, interest in the device as a platform for magazines is heating up all the more. “What we never had before was a good enough device that rivaled what it was like to read in the magazine space,” says ScrollMotion co-founder Josh Koppel. “The iPhone is a game changer, a whole new type of interaction. With touch screens it is a magic slate.”
With in-app subscriptions now available on the iPhone news publications and magazines can charge monthly or annual fees. There are also a range of e-readers in various stages development (beyond the Kindle and Sony’s ebook reader) that will likely mean a growing base of consumers for digital versions of traditional publisher content like this.