While every established print publisher is trying to find a way to build up digital advertising revenue to offset eroding print dollars, few have been as aggressive as The Atlantic, which now says that ad dollars derived from its website and apps now generates more than half of its total ad revenues.
The Atlantic, which was founded 154 years ago, posted its first profit just last year, in part the result of its emphasis on digital. And while most publishers say that digital is an increasing part of their revenue pie — for major publishers, digital dollars make up a less than 20 percent slice, generally — The Atlantic says it’s not because its print side is getting weaker. In fact, it claims that October was actually a “record” month for print revenues. Overall, ad revenue was up by 5 percent compared to a year ago, the previous October high, the company said.
Collectively, major magazines lost ground in terms of the recovery in the number of ad pages over the first nine months of the year. And The Atlantic certainly did worse, seeing its ad pages drop nearly 4 percent from January to September, according to the most recent Publishers Information Bureau figures.
Specifically, The Atlantic’s digital revenues comprised 51 percent of ad sales, while print comprised 49 percent. While the company didn’t release exact dollar figures, the NYT reported that the company expects to bring in $18.6 million in total ad revenue this year, which also makes up half of The Atlantic’s total revenue.
“We’ve reached an exciting, new benchmark that, just four or five years ago, many in the industry thought would never come,” said Jay Lauf, vice president and publisher of The Atlantic, in a statement. “For the first time ever, digital has claimed a majority stake… it’s a testament to the strong demand we’re seeing across all Atlantic platforms.”