"A couple of years ago, the big question was what's going to
happen to magazines like Cosmo in the future," Kate White, the
magazine's editor-in-chief, told Ad Age . "There was a little bit
of anxiety. What this has done is say that our content will rule
and will thrive. Women want our content, and they'll get it on a
variety of platforms."
Cosmopolitan has been available on the Zinio platform since 2005
but has seen its digital circulation rise particularly since the
advent of the iPad, Nook and Kindle Fire.
Cosmopolitan is also getting more money for digital
subscriptions than it gets in print. Cosmo's website offers
print-only subscriptions for $15 per year, or $12 a year for a
three-year commitment. Its digital-only subscriptions for the iPad
and Zinio, by comparison, command $19.99 per year. IPad
subscriptions are also available monthly for $1.99 -- equivalent to
$23.88 annually. Fire and Nook subscriptions are available monthly
only, at $1.99 a month.
The magazine says it has 100,000 individually paid digital
subscriptions from individual subscribers and is not counting
sponsored digital subscriptions toward the milestone.
Cosmopolitan is benefiting in part from a digital circulation
strategy that requires even its print subscribers to buy the
digital edition separately. Magazines such as Wired and People, on
the other hand, give digital-edition access to every paid print
subscriber, undermining their prospects for digital-only sales.
Time Inc., the publisher of People, doesn't even sell iPad-only
Cosmopolitan's digital push has also gained from its
exceptionally large newsstand circulation, a marketing tool that
other magazines can't match. Cosmopolitan reported average
newsstand sales of nearly 1.5 million copies over the second half
of last year, more than any other magazine.
"It's understood in context that we sell so much more at the
newsstand than any other magazine," Ms. White said.
Although Hearst has become very effective at cross-selling its
print magazines to existing subscribers, Cosmopolitan is staying
focused on its own digital circulation for now. "The big goal will
be not so much can I help anyone else, but how fast can we grow
it," Ms. White said.
So how is the momentum in Cosmopolitan's digital product
affecting the way the magazine works? The team has made an effort
to have developers in-house to work with editorial staffers and
tries to ensure that there's no divide between the print and
digital staff, Ms. White said. "No one works [just] on the website
or the Cosmo for Guys app," she added.
Key Dates in Cosmo's
Introduces an iPhone application called Cosmo's Sex Position of the
Day, based on the best-selling book "The Cosmo Kama Sutra" and
featuring 77 sex positions.
Introduces Showcase Edition App to the App Store. The app
introduced an interactive experience, "Cosmopolitan Boulevard,"
featuring custom activations for each of the seven participating
Introduces CFG: Cosmo for Guys, an iPad app packed with interactive
content geared to men.
Introduces iPad version of its print edition.