Friday, December 17, 2010

How the Venerable Atlantic Changed for the Digital Age

The Atlantic, an issues-oriented magazine that was founded 153 years and in recent years has been a consistent money loser, is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. Jeremy Peters of The New York Times suggests that the reason the magazine has turned itself around relates to a decision of its young management to attach their property to the web enthusiastically at a time when major magazine firms were still wary about hurting their print product. So, for example, in a move rare in the magazine industry the publisher told the advertising sales staff that it did not matter whether they sold ads for the digital or printed edition.

The Atlantic reduced its staff and made other monetary accommodations that are allowing it to prosper in the digital world. Moreover, Peters notes that this periodical with less than half a million circulation and an entire business and editorial staff of about one hundred can break even at levels lower than the big magazines produced by the likes of Time and Conde Nast. Nevertheless, the developments point to the activities periodicals must consider to survive in the new media environment.

From Jeremy W. Peters, "Web Focus Helps Revitalize the Atlantic," New York Times, December 12, 2010. Thanks for Scott Weiss of St. Francis College for suggesting this piece for the blog.

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