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Time Inc, Twittering past their competitors

by Scott Hoffman on October 7, 2009

Is this the week that will be remembered as the death of the magazine industry? Maybe. Yesterday Conde Nast shuttered Gourmet magazine after 60 years of publication, and 3 other titles. Most other news is bleak about the state of the magazine industry.

I really wanted to find an example of how the magazine industry is trying to save itself from this Titanic like slide. Many people agree that that any path to recovery lay in digital. With that in mind, I cross compared paid circulation numbers from some of the biggest magazines to their Twitter followers and I found a very distinct pattern. Time, inc seems to be well under way in shifting their reliance on print audience to digital/social audience on Twitter.

Time, inc has the top 4 of 14 of the most followed magazine Twitter accounts. Publications including the titles InStyle, Health, Entertainment Weekly, and People topped the list of Twitter followers to paid circulation ratio. The four publications’ with a combined paid print circulation of 8.5 million have Twitter accounts with over 4.3 million followers (as of 9/22) which means that for every 10 paid subscribers, there are 5 that are following them on Twitter. These followers are presumably reading and spreading Time content, and valuable links to the content on Time’s own sites.

Magazine500

(Thanks to MinOnline for sharing the twitter follower growth research)

On the flip side, I didn’t include some of the magazines with the biggest paid circulations, as I could not find a significant Twitter presence, which is a story in itself…the list of magazines missing from Twitter is long and include: Reader’s Digest, Better Homes & Gardening (Meredith Corporation), National Geographic, Good Housekeeping (Hearst Corporation).

I want to thank Micheal Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media for my inspiration on investigating the state of magazines and social media. Earlier this week he and I got into a spirited debate via facebook over “Print Publishers May Create a ‘Hulu’ for Magazines” (disclaimer, never get into a intelligent argument with Mike when you have finished half a bottle of Red wine, he is way too smart!)…

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Lazerow/525910288 Michael Lazerow

    Here's the problem … charging users for 140 character pieces of content and doing “glossy” Twitter ads isn't going to work. So I don't necessarily know if Twitter solves any real problems, but it doesn't hurt and Time Inc has been very smart to adopt early before it's too late. Onward.

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Thanks for the comment, and I agree – monetizing 140 characters is well, new…I just wanted to find some positive light in this Magazine Meltdown. Your team, with all their expertise, should be hitting up Hearst, Meridith, and the like to get them into the Social Media game…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Lazerow/525910288 Michael Lazerow

    Here's the problem … charging users for 140 character pieces of content and doing “glossy” Twitter ads isn't going to work. So I don't necessarily know if Twitter solves any real problems, but it doesn't hurt and Time Inc has been very smart to adopt early before it's too late. Onward.

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Thanks for the comment, and I agree – monetizing 140 characters is well, new…I just wanted to find some positive light in this Magazine Meltdown. Your team, with all their expertise, should be hitting up Hearst, Meridith, and the like to get them into the Social Media game…

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