Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Won't Say Utne Reader Takes My Advice, but ...

Folio: reports that Utne Reader, the lefty journal of "independent media," is increasing its cover and subscription prices, and it is also increasing the physical trim size of the magazine to 8.5" x 10". Paper quality will also improve.

I've been arguing that magazines should be doing just that -- increasing their prices to pay for a bigger, better product, instead of following the lemmings who shrink trim size (I'm talking to you, Rolling Stone and German edition of Playboy) and cut, cut, cut content and quality.

Good Housekeeping is going the other way -- let's just call it the John Zipperer Way, not because I have an ego but simply because there is no other appropriate description for it. Utne Reader has also jumped on the John Zipperer Way bandwagon (that's awkward; will have to come up with new nomenclature). I hope others take notice.


Lorri Zipperer said...

You may an interesting point, John. Do you think the willingness to pay more for higher quality should be targeted to a specific audience? For example, will our parents be more willing/able to pay more for a higher quality of "Time" magazine than the "Twitter" generation?

jzipperer said...

I think that's exactly the important point. Targeted publications can (and, I think, should) make audiences pay for better/more quality and content. It's also what mass-market magazines used to do, long before you and I were born. But these days, mass market mags probably have to go the other route, if for no other reason that they are largely staffed by MBAs who have no clue about how else to sell their wares.

And yet ... isn't it funny that Cone Nast's magazines, which target luxury audiences with luxury goods ads, are dirt cheap to buy? What audience will buy a $5,600 watch but won't pony up $6.00 to buy the magazine that features the watch?

Funny business, this.