Corner Office: A Fresh Spin on Going Digital
Earlier this year, Spin Media LLC made what some publishing executives might consider a risky move. It decided to offer Spin magazine online, and free of charge.
The digital edition of the 450,000-circulation music magazine - which is accessible on Spin's MySpace page (www.MySpace.com/spinmagazine) and at Spin.com, the publication's portal for breaking news and archived stories - mirrors its print version, but with enhancements. For example, readers can click on icons to purchase music on iTunes, watch music videos or visit artists' MySpace pages, or on hyperlinks to be taken directly to advertisers' Web sites. The digital edition, created by Southborough, Mass.-based Texterity Inc., also enables both the editorial department and advertisers to track which areas of the magazine readers are honing in on.
When Spin Digital launched in January, the magazine announced that it would be accessible to readers for free for one year. With the end of that year in sight, Malcolm Campbell, publisher of Spin Media, says the company has yet to determine whether or not the digital edition will change over to a paid-subscription model. "We may extend it for another year," he says of the current free model. "This is a work in progress ... but at this point, we have no thought of switching to a paid site."
Publishing Executive spoke to Campbell about how offering his product for free is paying off.
What led to the decision to offer your entire magazine for free on MySpace? Were you concerned that you might lose print subscribers?
Malcolm Campbell: We see the need moving forward for magazines to be in the digital space. MySpace was a substantial partner, and the opportunity presented itself. They're the biggest game in town. No one comes close to having the music volume they have.
The advantages far outweigh the downsides. We think there's a whole audience of young consumers out there who aren't aware of Spin. [Our] average [print] reader is just over 30. We are aiming for kids in their late teens and 20s [with Spin Digital]. ... Young consumers are still reading magazines, and we're introducing them to the Spin brand. They might then pick up [the print edition] when they're commuting or [involved] in a leisure activity, even though at home they [may] prefer to read it online.