According to a recent New York Times article, major magazine publishers are considering raising prices on their newsstands and subscription issues. However, the short term benefits may hurt the publications consumer base and reputation in the long run. Magazines are getting desperate to retain revenues during the recession, but considerations of online content pay walls and higher prices are threatening readership numbers, data highly valued by advertisers.
A careful balance of readership retention and advertising value is necessary for the long term survival of print media. Subscription prices per issue are barely covering the price to mail the issues and research has shown that a reader’s engagement (the time spent and interest in a particular magazine) is constant regardless of price. While consumers are used to steadily rising prices of movie and sporting event tickets, magazines historically raise their prices cautiously. It will be interesting to see how circulation and advertising revenues fluctuate in response to the changes in prices across the newsstand.