Magazines Create Tiered Subscriptions to Cater to “Super Subscribers”

In its 2014 MPA Factbook, the Association of Magazine Media reports that 91% of all adults read magazines. That number jumps to 96% for

In its 2014 MPA Factbook, the Association of Magazine Media reports that 91% of all adults read magazines. That number jumps to 96% for adults under 25! Combined with being the #1 medium for engagement for advertising, magazines are an excellent venue for advertisers to get in front of their target audiences while giving subscription companies dependable revenue sources.

With a 10% overall increase in subscriptions between August 2013 and August 2014, magazines are continuing to provide the quality content readers want, but these subscription-based companies have to continue to adapt and change to attract and retain subscribers.

One trend that is gaining in popularity among publishers is tiered magazine subscriptions. Rather than setting one flat annual subscription rate, magazine publishers are offering different packages to appeal to different readers’ needs and budgets, says Capital New York in a recent article about “super subscribers.”

People magazine, for example, has four subscription packages: print magazine, all access, digital plus, and V.I.P:

Print: 54 weekly issues + 4 free issues is $112.86 ($1.86/each + $0.23 postage & handling) or 26 weeks + 4 free issues at $56.94 ($1.96/each + $0.23 postage & handling).

All Access: Home delivery of People magazine, digital access with exclusive features and the “world’s most beautiful gift box” with editor-selected beauty and style products is $134.46 ($2.26/each + $0.23 postage & handling).

Digital Plus: 54 weekly digital issues + 4 free issues, access to premium smartphone apps and access to the subscriber-only premium section on is $112.86 (same as print subscription).

V.I.P.: 54 digital and print issues of People magazine, 3 deluxe gift boxes, premium smartphone apps, 6-month gift subscription, and subscriber-only premium section on is $204.66.

According to the Capital New York article, 200 lucky V.I.P. subscribers won bleacher seats alongside the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars for the true “Oscar Fan Experience,” a fun bonus for star gazers.

Other magazines like O, The Oprah Magazine, are following suit, giving subscribers options at different price points.

Insider Take:

We are pleased to hear that magazine readership continues to grow, whether the platform is print or digital. We are impressed that subscription-based magazine companies are nimble and creative with their offerings and packages. This is a great opportunity for them to grow their fan base and remain sustainable as technology and how consumers read magazines change.

If your subscription-based company is considering tiered packages like these, we encourage you to make them simple for subscribers to find and understand. All packages should be listed on the same page, so readers can compare and select the package that best suits them, with the premium package listed first as “Best Value.” A one-column format works best. We also recommend a large, brightly-colored button for subscribing or closing the sale. For more best practices, see our Paywall Optimization Toolkit on our premium site.

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