Why Web-Forward Media Companies Are Turning To Print
The Nautilus Quarterly is currently available through a $49 yearly subscription or through 300 bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. Nautilus content is also available online for free, but Steele hopes to eventually monetize this, as well as launch subscription-based digital apps. “Right now everything is free online because we’re starting from scratch, so we have to let people know who we are and what we are. We’re looking to slowly integrate a metered paywall in the next few months and we’ll have some sort of monthly or annual subscription that is fairly low.”
For Steele, print is just another way to monetize the one-of-a-kind content that Nautilus is creating. “The whole idea is to leverage our content into every kind of ancillary business to generate revenue. We’re using our online still as a way to get noticed and build a brand, but because we’re producing original content, we have to leverage that content in every platform we possibly can. A lot of general interest stuff is probably in trouble just because news and all those other things [have become] commodities. But if you’re doing something that is unique and perhaps niche, which is in a way what we’re doing, I think there’s still a market for it. And it’s not just about having one platform anymore and expecting that platform to pay the freight.”
Steele continues: “In some ways we’re trying to figure out how you reinvent the business. A lot of traditional magazine distribution is problematic, especially for someone like us. We have a small print run; the books are pretty expensive. So to go through the traditional distribution through bookstores and newsstands and that, it can be very difficult to break even or make money.”
Although print distribution is problematic, Steel sees a lot of the same problems with properly monetizing online readership. Publishers might be getting high web traffic but are experiencing high bounce-rates. “We refer to them as empty calories.”
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.