Hobby titles are proving to be fertile ground for video.
Kalmbach Publishing’s Model Railroader is the latest to expand its offerings, launching a paid video subscription site to its compliment the 79-year-old brand.
The site, Model Railroader Video Plus, will feature three or four new clips per week, produced by a dedicated two-man MR video team in collaboration with the magazine’s staff and select outside contributors.
"There’s a natural affinity for video that a hobby like model railroading has," says Kevin Keefe, vice president of editorial for Kalmbach. "Evidence across all our titles [suggested] that our customers are looking for more video, and in the case of Model Railroader, we saw the growth in video views on our magazine’s standard websites and it was a big number for us."
With video initiatives of its own that began in 2008—MR currently has about 500 videos and will continue to update its library going forward—Keefe says the magazine’s site served 1.5 million video views last year, up from 1.2 million in 2011. MR currently draws about 200,000 unique visitors and 1.5 million pageviews per month and has a circulation of more than 131,000, per the Alliance for Audited Media.
Annual subscriptions to MR Video Plus cost $52.95, though they’re being offered for $32.95 to subscribers of the magazine. Monthly options are also available at $4.95.
Interestingly, MR Video Plus’ price is higher than the magazine’s ($42.95/year).
"The pricing reflects the costs," Keefe says. "[That price point] was a simple mechanism of the cost to launch the site and what it’s going to cost to continue to keep the videos fresh."
Keefe says the site will maintain about 250 clips at all times, with 180 original videos produced annually. Instructional pieces will make up the majority of the content, though topical features and interviews will also be included.
That instructional, "how-to" audience is a segment Keefe wants to capitalize on. From enthusiasts like MR to consumer publications like Motor Trend or This Old House or Everyday Food, video is proving popular with hobbyists.
"[There’s] evidence elsewhere that companies seem to be having success in doing this with other hobbies," Keefe says. "Things like cooking, gardening or woodworking. There’s not a lot of it yet, but there are signs that in certain hobbies, with certain levels of devotion, you can do this."