Leader Profile: Global Vision
On the lighter side was a party held for subscribers and invitees during October's foreign policy debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, with bipartisan discussion beforehand and drinks during the live broadcast.
Foreign Affairs offers print and digital subscriber packages, as well as a premium subscriber level, which Hammes plans to spice up with new digital offerings via the app and website. Subscriptions account for about half of all revenue, while advertising accounts for between 25 and 35 percent (depending on the year). The rest comes from licensing and reprints.
The new app and other initiatives come out of a desire to expand without compromising the magazine's core mission or value proposition. Foreign Affairs, Hammes says, will always be a long-form source for news, views and policy analysis by and for thought-leaders. Editorially, editor Gideon Rose is expanding coverage into new areas globally, as well as moving beyond foreign policy and politics into economics, art, history and culture as issues such as the rise of the Hispanic demographic in the U.S. and human rights struggles continue to play a role in international affairs.
A new focus on metrics drives some changes. The magazine examines Web traffic and user patterns, such as breakdown by mobile and social media channels, as well as geography. Hammes keeps the focus on conversion rates rather than just traffic to ensure the message gleaned from data is truly meaningful. "We don't want empty [numbers]," she says.
Foreign Affairs has published a Japanese version since 1990, and offers several other international editions, including Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica. Digital media, Hammes says, enables exciting new possibilities for global editions and partnerships.
"It used to be hard to make a business out of [international verticals] because it's low margin," she says. "You've got a small audience within one country and one language, and manufacturing copies [for that market] is not a great business proposition. Today, digitally, with translation technology and with video, the opportunities are huge. We are already seeing [expansion] without even marketing, and I've been studying where we are seeing readership grow and learning about strategic partners in China, the Middle East, Brazil and other places that can help us scale. It's really exciting."