Can Maghound Spark a Sagging Magazine Industry?
Inbox: What is the percentage of titles being offered through Maghound that are not published by Time Inc.?
Ventresca: Time Inc. now represents a smaller percentage, because we're increasing our title roster every week. Now, if you go to the Web site, there are about 240 titles already live. And we have another dozen or so titles that have already signed up [with Maghound] -- we just haven't loaded their digital assets yet. … We're signing up new titles all the time.
Of the 240 titles on there now, 24 or 25 are Time Inc. brands. And that percentage will naturally decrease as we bring in titles from other publishers.
Inbox: What is the strategy for pursuing publishers not already participating in Maghound?
Ventresca: Obviously this is a new model and in many ways a test. This is a beta launch, so we want to see how consumers interact with the live service. But the pitch [to publishers] really is that we think this is an attractive circulation source. It's attractive financially to them, because we pay a fixed dollar amount to each publisher for every copy of every issue that we sell. So there's no upfront cost to participate, and they make money from every issue that we sell. Additionally, based on the research studies and marketing testing that we've done, we feel confident that we can bring incremental readers to each brand. And, perhaps more importantly, we can bring the right type of reader. We can bring good, attractive demographics.
Inbox: Can you disclose any particulars on the revenue-sharing arrangements between Maghound and participating publishers?
Ventresca: It's title by title. I can't really get into the full methodology, but it's title by title.
Inbox: Going forward, how will Maghound be promoted?
Ventresca: This is a beta test. We want to see how consumers navigate through the site. We want to get a sense of how many magazines per account they're ordering, how frequently they switch from one title to another, how frequently they cancel during the free month trial period, how frequently they upgrade from three titles to five and from five to seven. So we want to get answers to those types of questions and, at the same time, continue to roll out new features and functionality into the Web site.