While I was personally hoping that we’d be living in a complete digital age at this point, the magazine business has been struggling to get off the ground in the digital world. Magazine company Hearst has now finally hit the 1 million digital subscriber mark, although it’s 3 months after it anticipated to reach the landmark number.
Hearst, which publishes such titles as Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics and Food Network Magazine, expected to hit the 1 million subscriber figure by the end of 2012, however, Hearst’s President David Carey just revealed to All Things D that this number wasn’t actually reached until March 2013. While 1 million is still a sizeable number, this only accounts for just over 3% of Hearst’s total customer base.
Magazine adoption on tablets to this point has been fairly slow, but Carey thinks his company will be able to steadily increase these numbers over the next several years. By 2016, Carey hopes to have captured 3 million digital subscribers who have signed up on their iPads or other tablets. That still, however, only accounts for 10% of the company’s subscribers.
To be fair, digital magazine subscriptions didn’t really become a thing until Apple started supporting the concept through iTunes in mid-2011. Still, I feel as though these numbers could be a lot higher when you take into consideration how many tablet owners there are out there.
It makes sense that Magazine publishers are purposefully trying to delay or avoid the adoption of digital subscriptions. This is because profit margins on digital versions are far lower than what the companies make off of physical magazine subscription sales.
With a digital only future being an inevitability, publishers need to find a way to make digital sales work and be more profitable if they don’t want to see the death of magazines.
Image Credit: Mashable