I’ve just finished reading through one of the most popular electronics titles in Europe and I’m beginning to wonder whether the high advert to editorial ratio might be discouraging people from reading digital magazines. It’s so easy and cheap to add extra advertising pages such as false front covers and inserts in the digital format, and with most publications simply replicating the print title in digital form there is no increase in editorial to compensate.
The ratio between advertising and editorial does vary from country to country, with the UK having one of the highest percentage of adverts (although a relatively low cost per advertising page to compensate). But even I was surprised by the fact that 60%+ of the publication was advertising. In fact nearly half (45%) of the pages were full page adverts!
I hope that publishers are going to start to put more effort into the content and layout of digital publications, rather than treating them as some kind of digital twin of the paper edition. If they don’t, and they continue to sell more and more additional adverts into the digital version, I’m sure readers will start to notice. We all understand the long-term economics of publishing: making money from print will become more and more difficult. I just hope that publishers don’t discourage readers from adopting digital magazines, which have to be an essential part of the future of magazines.