Foreign Affairs Amplifies Its Content With Audible Partnership
Starting with the release of its July/August issue, Foreign Affairs will be giving an actual voice to the analysis and long-form reporting it's so known for. The publication is partnering with Audible to make audio versions of its print articles and highlighted web content available to stream and download on ForeignAffairs.com and Audible.com. (The audio feature is now available on ForeignAffairs.com).
Foreign Affairs publisher Lynda Hammes says that while the launch of the new audio product is an extension of a greater digital and mobile-friendly strategy and will bolster its subscription offer, it's most of all a response to reader desire. "We've done surveys over the past year-and-a-half, two years, and readers have actively asked for this. 'We want to stay informed and engaged on the go.' It's not surprising because they're really avid travellers. If you look at The Economist, or Slate, or The New Yorker -- those readers of like-minded content are really passionate about the audio format."
Foreign Affairs subscribers will be able to stream audio for free while other readers can access audio according to the magazine's metered paywall or through individual purchases. Advertising spots will be available through stand-alone sponsorships and part of a wider digital advertising package.
Hammes is confident the audio editions will make Foreign Affairs' premium access more alluring and convert more subscribers. "Right now you can sample content if you're not a subscriber or registered user, but the more special benefits of premium access we can give subscribers, the more these casual web users will go through the customer life cycle and commit to being a paid reader. We've seen this with other features. We also hope to see that loyal print readers will have a reason to become habitual users of the digital offerings -- both the app and ForeignAffairs.com."
Foreign Affairs chose to partner with the Amazon-owned Audible because they are a clear authority in the audio edition space, says Hammes. The publication also wants to ensure it's meeting audio-lovers where they already are: "Our readers are voracious book buyers and news consumers, and Audible.com is the go-to source for audio versions of both...we hope new readers that are power audio consumers will learn about Foreign Affairs through our cross-marketing as well."
The Foreign Affairs audio product is one of the features the magazine is rolling out in advance of a "dramatic" website redesign planned for this fall. The redesign will focus on premium features for subscribers, be responsive across platforms, and create a personalized experience for regular readers.
ForeignAffairs.com broke records this past March for total visits and total unique visitors (over 1.3 million total visits and 900,000 unique visitors). The record numbers come four months after the implementation of a metered paywall program that allows users to read four articles for free every month before they are asked to subscribe.
Editor's Note: More details on how the audio offering will be accessible to readers are below. Our sister publication Book Business has covered the recent rapid growth of the audiobook market. As readers become more mobile savvy multitaskers, audio is expected to continue its rise. Read "Audiobook Boom Provides Big Opportunities for Publishers" for insight on the various strategies for producing audio content.
Foreign Affairs Audio Access Model:
- Streaming audio for articles follows the same rules as the article paywall metering system. Anonymous users can stream one article before being prompted to register or sign-in. Logged-in registered users can stream up to three articles per month (the same ones they have access to via their meter limit) before being prompted to subscribe. Logged-in subscribers can stream an infinite number of articles per month and entire magazine issues.
- Purchasing audio for articles is available to any article buyer, and Plus and Digital Subscriber. The purchase price is the same as the PDF price of $4.95. Logged-in Plus and Digital Subscribers can download the audio for free.
- Audio for full issues can be purchased by anonymous and logged-in registered users. The purchase price is the same as the PDF price of $9.99.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.