Wired may yet be the first “crossover” publication. While digital ads represented over 45% of its ad revenue, Wired’s print circulation of 800,000 is still quite strong. It’s been reported that half of its total ad revenue in the last quarter of 2012 came from digital.
Digital ads accounted for just under half (45 percent) of total ad revenue at Wired for the year as a whole. But The Atlantic trumped even Wired’s digital highpoint, with digital ad revenue accounting for 59 percent of the title’s total for 2012. With big brands retaining their reliance on the tricky business of print and with its dwindling readership, this is encouraging news indeed.
The quiet rise of digital advertising
The reason why Wired makes the headline here rather than The Atlantic, though, boils down to one big fact. Data from the Media Industry Newsletter shows clearly that the former’s print business is much, much bigger. Advertisers can rest assured that with Wired they’ll have a verified, paid circulation of 800,000, with 885 ad pages run in 2012. Equivalent figures for The Atlantic are 450,000 and 463 ad pages.
It’s fair to note that revenues from digital ads in most magazines still lag well below these levels. But when you consider that digital contributed a humble 10 percent of total ad revenue at Wired in 2006, a five hundred percent increase in six years is a pretty spectacular trend by anyone’s standards.
A silent revolution?
Howard Mittman, Wired’s VP-publisher, said, “We spent a lot of time debating whether we were the best magazine with a website or the best website with a magazine. And at the end of the day, I don’t think we care. Hitting 50% is proof that there is a successful template inside of this industry that can be followed by others and that having a magazine doesn’t necessarily need to be an analog anchor around your technological neck.”
The title’s website remains a crucial driver of the total, accounting for 90 percent of its digital ad revenue. Even so, this could well be set to change in favor of mobile gadgets. While the bulk of revenue is coming from traditional desktop devices, the rise of the smartphones and tablets is almost certain to challenge this ascendant position in the very near future.