Online Mags Experience Limited Success In Luring Print Subscribers: Report

Despite hopes that magazine websites would yield higher subscription rates, online-originated subs have hovered around 10 percent of all new orders, from 7 percent five years ago, Dan Capell, editor of Capell’s Circulation Report, tells Mediaweek. And while he adds that such subs may have peaked, many pubs remain undaunted and are trying a variety of tactics designed to lure online readers into becoming print subscribers. Some examples:

— Half of the initial subscribers of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s year-old personal style magazine Bluelines came from online offers. But thanks to that mag’s related blog, Bluelines, one-third of new subs have come from the web.

— Hearst Magazines, which is currently revamping its online magazine websites, claims it gets nearly 15 percent of new subs from online sources, roughly double the level of a couple of years ago. The company cites engaged online audiences and third-party relationships as driving the new internet-based subscription rates for Esquire, Seventeen and CosmoGirl. Hearst is now taking a closer look at the presentation of online offers, rotating the offers more and analyzing their effectiveness in real-time.

— Rodale hopes to net 500K new subs by mining its database of people who have bought its books, DVDs and other products, then targeting them with special offers. It is also building sales models that will predict which of its health and fitness products will entice people to subscribe based on which ones they

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