Saturday, September 26, 2009

Twitter vs Facebook & cheap Magazines - We all know that Twitter has been in the news for much of 2009, but people still debate whether having a Twitter account is useful. Some people sign up, use it for a while, then do nothing for months. After time, many go back to Twitter and find it helps them with their business.

I saw a good article today that compares Twitter and Facebook, and how more business people are finding advantages with Twitter. It also seems that Twitter has Facebook a little worried, and Facebook is trying to implement some Twitter-like features. If you are interested in the Twitter debate, the article is linked below.

Another subject that has caught my attention in the last two years or so is how cheap magazine subscriptions have become. For example, Macleans, a popular Canadian magazine, recently offered me 20 issues for $14.95. That's about the cost of 3 issues on the news stand.

But Sports Illustrated tops them all. Just yesterday in the mail, I was offered a 56 issue subscription for $30 Canadian, PLUS I get a free NFL team performer jacket of any NFL team I choose! To me, it looks like a great offer and I wonder how they can afford to do something like that? The cover value of the 56 magazines would normally be $256.

The only way I can rationalize this is that magazines are losing subscribers, likely because people are getting more of their news online. But magazines need eyeballs to show potential advertisers that they have a large number of subscribers. If they lose the subscribers, they can't charge as much for advertising. So they are willing to make and ship the magazine for a loss from the subscriber angle, in order to maybe make a profit with their ad sales. Another benefit is they might want more subscribers in order to drive them to their website.

This is the same thing that happened to Business 2.0 magazine, which was my favorite. One minute I got a year's subscription for $10, and a few months later the magazine folded, and my subscription was moved to Fortune magazine (which isn't too bad either). I would have paid a lot more for a Business 2.0 subscription because I enjoyed it so much.

How long will today's magazines last if they have to keep giving it away?

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