HOW THE CLUB-SCRIPTION IS RESHAPING MAGAZINE SUBS

Magazine subscriptions used to be a simple concept. If you pay for a year’s worth of magazines, you’ll get them cheaper and delivered straight to your house. You won’t miss an issue, and the publisher has guaranteed readers. Excellent.

But subscribers have so much choice now; they want more for their money. So enter what we at Ready have termed the ‘clubscription’, a subscriber-only club, with benefits and offers as a reward for becoming a member of an elite readership.

This week we are going to take a closer look at some of the benefits of being a subscriber that many magazines now offer, making the most of their detailed knowledge of their readers.

UNIQUE CONTENT

Offering subscribers unique content is a common incentive used by magazines. Many publications have digital content that is only available to subscribers, such as TIME Magazine‘s TIME VAULT, a digital archive of all their issues since 1923.

Subscribers have access to all previous issues to TIME, allowing them to revisit articles and news from the unique record of history that makes up the TIME Vault.

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Runner’s World have online articles that only Subscriber Plus readers can see.

And Gardener’s World subscribers receive a new level of unique content; they get sent the Subscriber Edition with an exclusive cover and extra subscriber-club content within the magazine itself.

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SUBSCRIBER-ONLY HUBS

An extension of unique content (usually an area of the title’s website reserved for subscribers) is another common benefit included in ‘clubscriptions’. Lots of magazines use this approach, with subscriber-only competitions, forums and giveaways.

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Gardener’s World has a an exclusive space for their ‘clubscription’ members called the Secret Garden, containing inspirational videos, exclusive content, projects, grow guides and competitions.

OFFERS AND DISCOUNTS

Magazines are perfectly situated to offer discounts and freebies because they know what their readers want. For example, Elle Decoration has a VIP club that have exclusive offers like discounts from furniture companies, decoration books and other home design retailers.

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Gardener’s World have discounts on plants, products and their yearly event, BBC Gardeners World Live. Which leads us nicely onto…

SUBSCRIBER EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS

Subscriber-only events are also a popular aspect of the ‘clubscription’ model. Gardener’s World offer exclusive subscriber events and opportunities to meet the magazine experts.

Meanwhile Runner’s World offers subscriber only competitions every month, and Writing Magazine provides subscribers with additional writing competitions they can enter for free.

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Even smaller indie magazines are getting involved. Delayed Gratification, a magazine “proud to be the last to breaking news”, is an independent title published by the Slow Journalism Company.

They have free infographic classes for subscribers; readers they know who enjoy the well thought out and designed infographics within the pages of the magazine. Simple, specific and unique.

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THE FUTURE?

And we think that is the take-home message of ‘clubscriptions’. Every magazine has a niche, a singular readership that is interested in something. Magazines are ideally situated to style a subscription into a club that makes their members feel special.

As magazine publishers continue to face stiff competition for people’s attention and money, we predict this trend is only going to get bigger.