The Week lifts circulation, subscription price

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The Week, a newsweekly inspired by the president's daily brief, has raised its circulation despite a $25 increase in subscription rates.

The magazine's editors gather news and opinion from U.S. and international media and feature the most compelling stories and commentary in the book each week. The publication's latest strategy relies on readers rather than advertisers.

"Our strategy is to target an educated, affluent demographic and charge a high subscription price," said Steven Kotok, business and circulation director at The Week, New York.

The current circulation rate base for The Week is 425,000. A single copy costs $3 on newsstands and $50 to $75 through subscriptions. The price for subscriptions purchased through www.theweekmagazine.com is $50 a year.

In 2005, The Week had about 300,000 subscribers. Since then, it has seen a 33 percent increase in growth. It is published 48 times a year.

"Growth was driven by the incredible connection readers make with our magazine," Mr. Kotok said. "Because of this connection, they renew their subscriptions at a high rate and because we know that many new subscribers will renew their subscriptions, we can invest more in acquiring them through direct mail and other sources."

The Week attracts subscribers through a targeted direct mail campaign, paid search engine marketing and its gift program. One third of subscribers have either given The Week as a gift or have received one.

"Many magazines sell subscriptions through vouchers that just push low prices and big savings," Mr. Kotok said. "Time uses organizers, radios, bags, construction levels, watches and clocks, but we don't sell on price discounts or push the goodies that you receive with your subscription."

Instead of vouchers, The Week mails a 16- or 20-page magalog that introduces the reader to the magazine. For premiums, the title uses a compilation of content from previous issues.

"Specific tag lines we use are 'Here is your VIP ticket to a front row seat on the world,'" Mr. Kotok said, "and 'Don't start a conversation until you've read this magazine.'"

The average age of readers is 48 and average household income is $120,400. More than half of the readers are male.

"Our standard offer for new subscribers is 'Try four free issues,' on a bill-me basis," Mr. Kotok said. "We just want to get the magazine in people's hands and from there we trust that they will see the value of our product and be willing to pay for it."

The tag line of the publication is "All you need to know about everything that matters."

Mr. Kotok thinks that a unique selling point of The Week is that it carries this motto and is just 40 pages long. He also feels that The Week has an advantage in that it provides opinion instead of hard news.

"Our competitors simply report the news from one viewpoint in the form of long four- or five-page articles," Mr. Kotok said. "By the time people receive an ink-on-paper news magazine, they have a sense of what the major events of the week are already, so we don't regurgitate the news to our readers."

The open rate cost of a full-page color ad in The Week is $44,000. The title has also initiated a Total Transparency research program.

The campaign offers accountability and ROI opportunities for advertisers. It was launched in response to the demand from the media community that print media raise its accountability standards.

Through a third-party research firm, McPheters & Company, The Week offers advertisers issue-by-issue reader-engagement metrics, advertising brand awareness and affinity measurement, and the most current reader demographics.

"Many other magazines pile up on the coffee table and don't get read," Mr. Kotok said. "I think people pay a premium price for The Week because they read every page, every week, and it all begins with a good product that people want."

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