The Week Grows Circulation, Ad Revenue In Spite of Initial Criticism
Following its launch in 2001, many industry critics were skeptical about the validity of news aggregator, The Week hitting an overcrowded market already struggling to compete with the power of the Internet. Up against heavyweight competitors like Time, Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, the Dennis Publishing title needed to find its editorial niche that would bring readers coming back for more.
But The Week has proved critics wrong by increasing its circulation each year since its launch. The initial rate base of 100,000 grew to 150,000 by 2003 and upward to 200,000 in 2004. After rising to 300,000 in 2005, the publication again upped it to 400,000, which has been exceeded according to the latest ABC FAS FAX report (to be released Aug. 21), which reports The Week’s paid circ to be 429,401.
"Growth was driven by the connection readers make with our magazine," says Steven Kotok, business and circulation director for The Week. "They renew their subscriptions at a high rate and because we know they will stick around for a long time as paying subscribers, we can invest more in reaching out to them through direct mail and other sources." In fact, 99 percent of the magazine’s readers are subscribers.
In a study conducted for The Week by Erdos & Morgan, 93 percent of subscribers agreed with the statement: "I read more of each issue of The Week compared to other magazines." While, 79 percent indicated they had read four out of the last four issues at the time of the survey, while 92 percent had read three out of the last four issues. "We know subscribers are reading nearly every page of nearly every issue and for this reason they are willing to pay a premium subscription price," says Kotok. An average subscription runs about $50 per year for 48 issues.
Advertising revenue and pages have also increased over the years, with over 120 percent growth since 2003. The magazine took in just under $17.79 million in ad revenue last year, up from $10.95 million in 2004, a 62.5 percent increase.
As for the future, the publication is taking a "why fix it if it ain’t broken" -type approach, Kotok says. "The main plan is to try to keep the editorial product strong," he adds. "We will not make drastic changes." Kotok says the mag does, however, plan to cap the circulation growth to keep a niche audience. "We will not be growing by 50 percent a year, every year forever," he says.
Circulation and Advertising Growth, 2002-2006
Rate Base Ad Pages Ad Revenue
- 2002 100,000 n/a n/a
- 2003 150,000 417 $6.582M
- 2004 200,000 523.36 $10.946M
- 2005 300,000 568.48 $17.785M
- 2006 400,000 n/a n/a