Two more magazines are launching paywalls for their digital offerings as the media industry looks to become less reliant on advertising dollars — an already struggling revenue stream hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Time, owned owned by billionaire Marc Benioff, just revealed its $2.99-a-month digital subscription in a letter to readers, with editor in chief and chief executive officer Edward Felsenthal telling them: “You’ll be ensuring that we can continue producing great journalism for you on all platforms for another 100 years.”
Readers will get access to four free articles before the paywall kicks in. There is also a print and digital subscription package for $12 for three months and the model will begin in the U.S. and Canada, ahead of being rolled out internationally.
Currently, Time has two million paying subscribers across the print magazine and its Time for Kids educational product, according to Felsenthal.
Earlier in the week, Sports Illustrated, operated by Maven Inc. under license from Authentic Brands Group, unveiled its digital $5.99-a-month metered paywall. To add the magazine will cost $7.99. Content from FanNation, its network of team-specific sites, and SI Swimsuit posts will be outside of the paywall.
“The internet has changed, and savvy media consumers know that quality digital content that’s worth your time is also worth your support. Because a model based solely on advertising exposes our storytelling capabilities to market forces we can’t control. And because we want to build the kind of connection, loyalty and trust with our digital audience we’ve long had with the magazine,” SI said in a letter to readers.
The letter also claimed that Sports Illustrated attracted its largest monthly audience ever in January on SI.com.
Last year saw Hearst Magazines delved deeper into the paywall model, launching digital subscriptions at Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics and Men’s Health. Similar programs were also unveiled at Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health and Bicycling, while Runner’s World has had one since 2019.
Condé Nast, meanwhile, launched a metered paywall for The New Yorker in 2014, with Wired and Vanity Fair following suit in 2018. The plan at the beginning of 2019 under former CEO Bob Sauerberg was to roll out the model companywide by the year end. That has yet to happen under Sauerberg’s successor Roger Lynch, who took over the reins in April 2019. But the The Financial Times recently reported that Condé Nast is preparing to launch a subscription product for Bon Appétit to compete with The New York Times’ popular cooking app.
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