Peter Banks: Publisher, DIABETES FORECAST
He’s made a members-only association publication a pass-along phenomenon.
In an industry where association publications are sometimes considered a garden-variety membership benefit, Peter Banks has made Diabetes Forecast a must-read among the millions of Americans affected by the disease. With a members-only subscription policy, and a circulation of over 460,000, the magazine has a readership of upwards of 4 million.
According to Banks, in the fall of 2005, a syndicated research study showed the total readership to be ten times the circulation number, which he believes is a direct result of how hungry people are for knowledge. "People are so desperate for information about this disease; there is probably a population that can’t afford any health magazine," he says. "Our pass-along readers are poorer people who don’t have great medical care. They trust us to deliver this information."
Since becoming publisher in 1999, Banks has seen a steady increase in circulation, up 19 percent. He credits his success to breaking through the association stigma. "Anybody in association publications has to walk the fine line," he says. "We have to advance association goals but also be an independent voice that competes with the best commercial content."
Formerly editorial director, Banks says readership rates are so high because he listened to his readers and their needs by transforming the magazine graphically and sharpening editorial, incorporating brighter, crisper, practical stories that make an immediate difference in readers’ lives. Research is crucial to the title’s reporting and any money that is made is invested right back into the fight for diabetes.
In 2003, Banks made a voluntary decision to turn away certain food advertisers;for foods high in calories and saturated fat;which has caused ad revenue to decrease. Revenue for 2005 was about $9.2 million, $1 million less than 2004. "Although tightening our advertising criteria meant a significant loss of income, it was a step we felt we needed to take for the health of our readers," he says.
VITAL STATS: Circulation is at 461,958 while research shows total readership to be 4.4 million.