The Digital Initiative: MPA President and CEO Nina Link on the growth consumer magazines are experiencing online
If the first quarter of 2008 is any indication of where consumer magazine publishing is headed, this year may end up being remembered as a significant step in the evolution of the industry. Recently released numbers from the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) show that publishing is moving to the Web in a big way. The first quarter saw a 12-percent increase in unique monthly visitors to consumer magazines’ Web site—up from 63.2 million to 70.7 million total—over the same period last year. That growth three times that of the average Internet site, according to the MPA.
With 65 new digital initiatives being rolled out so far this year by member partners, Nina Link, MPA president and CEO, says she expects this trend to accelerate. She spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about what the numbers mean for publishers, advertisers and consumers.
INBOX: What factors could be attributed to the higher-than-average Web growth for magazine-branded sites over the past year?
NINA LINK: I think the advancements in technology and publishers really adopting them within their Web sites. They’ve just offered a lot more options to engage with Web users. As the technology has gotten [better], magazines have [used it more]. They’re using video feeds and podcasts in ways they have never have before. It’s far more interactive. We have more magazine Web sites, which is extraordinary. We took a look at the last five years. Magazine Web sites—consumer magazines—grew over 50 percent. There are more players using the technology smarter. Consumers are responding and are really looking to these trusted brands for this information, interaction with community and advice and even entertainment. You’re seeing more focus, energy, more staff, and you’re seeing a response from consumers online. I think we’ll continue to see really nice growth numbers even in this tough economy.