Tales from the Folded: Budget Living Co-Founder Speaks at MPA-IMAG Conference
Rayman candidly took the audience through the rise and fall of the title, which was launched in 2002 as an offshoot of Budget Travel. He attributed the fold to two main problems: Exponential circulation growth over a short period and the "budget" stigma in the magazine’s title.
According to Rayman, the magazine had "tremendous initial success," with a starting circulation of 300,000, which then skyrocketed to 525,000 over a three year period. "We believed we could compete with the other titles. Big advertisers wouldn’t look at us at 300,000, they begin at 500,000 circulations."
Fellow panelist Tom Winsor said smaller magazines, with a 50,000 to 100,000 circulation, do not face the same problems larger titles do. "Grow circulation to a natural level to bring the magazine to where it’s going to be most profitable," he said. "Vertical magazines need to be doing about $1.5 million in revenue to be profitable."
Certain advertisers in the beauty and fashion categories were a challenge to attract, as many of them did not want to be associated with the word. Inevitably, Rayman said he was forced to either change the name of the magazine, or give up on the beauty and fashion categories for advertising sales. "The name ‘budget’ worked great with readers," he said, "but it was a hurdle for advertisers. The name was a mixed blessing."