This story was updated Friday, October 26 to include comments from Technology Review’s Jason Pontin.
Technology Review has relaunched itself as MIT Technology Review, taking one more step toward a digital-first transformation worthy of its cutting-edge namesake.
The publication, owned by the prestigious university, unveiled a new website and logo Wednesday—the largest and most noticeable changes of a strategic overhaul announced in June. The first rebooted print issue will be released November 6, but membership options and a new HTML5 mobile platform are still to come.
Philosophical changes, including providing all content online for free, have been rolled out through the summer and fall by editor-in-chief and publisher Jason Pontin, who, despite an admitted “impatience for change,” decided the magazine would be better served if the new strategy were implemented gradually.
“The core idea is that a website is irremediably free, that the web demands a kind of ‘linkyness’ that resists paywalls,” he says. “A free website does not mean that people are not willing to pay for beautifully designed membership experiences. The one that most readers will know is the printed magazine, but there are other types of membership experiences.”
Those membership options are expected later this year and will offer benefits related to events, page design, pagination and advertising.
“[The membership experience] will, if not supplant, at least compliment our traditional circulation business,” he says.
Pontin stresses that MIT Technology Review will not abandon its print roots though—“We’re absolutely maintaining the rate base levels we’ve seen for the past seven years,” he says. And with ad pages up 2.9 percent in the first half of this year, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau, there is no reason to right now.
The digital side of the business had been expanding at a far greater rate even before Pontin decided on the new initiatives though. In June, the magazine reported a 104-percent increase year-over-year in unique visitors.
“We want to do the things that made print so successful as a platform for the last 120 years and we’re dispensing with things that no longer work” he says. “What we don’t want to do, is run a digital enterprise that’s essentially an overgrown blog.”