"A lot of areas we are in are just tailor-made for being able to maintain that subscription relationship for many years," Keefe says. "As long as you deliver the goods, of course. We have to produce really great magazines to make it work."
"The enthusiasts we serve have a passion for what they do, as it defines who they are," agrees Sara Domville, president of Cincinnati, Ohio-based F+W Media. "We provide the authoritative content to help inspire and instruct these passionate enthusiasts."
So, beyond a focus on quality, what's their secret sauce?
El Segundo, Calif.-based Active Interest Media has always relied more heavily on advertisers looking to target its affluent audiences for magazines like Yoga Journal, Dressage Today, Old House Journal and Power and Motoryacht. In 2012, the publisher saw 40 percent of revenue coming from print and digital advertising, and just under 20 percent from subscriptions and newsstand sales. The second-largest chunk of earnings—33 percent—came from events, according to Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, chairman and CEO.
Zimbalist says events are a natural area of growth in the enthusiast and hobbiest sector, an essential part of a path to purchase that creates touchpoint opportunities for all of AIM's products.
"There is a cycle that enthusiasts have in enjoying their sport, their hobby—part of it is vicariously enjoying the sport when they can't be doing it," he says. "They do that through the pages of a magazine, whether digital or print, and that is an ongoing 12-months-a-year process. They also become familiar with things they can spend money on for the hobby [in the magazine]. If they are ready to make a transaction, or if they want more detailed information, then they go on the Web and do searches for product or knowledge based on their own queries. If it is a particularly complex or expensive product or subject matter, that's where events come in."