Publishers continue to grow digital output

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Digital initiatives continue to gain traction among traditional print publishers — and among readers — according to new research from the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA).

The MPA reports that consumer magazines released 76 new digital initiatives in the first quarter of 2009 — 10% more than in Q1 last year. Such new media moves include iPhone apps and other mobile applications, online videos, Twittering and other social networking initiatives, content-sharing partnerships and integrated marketing efforts.

Publishers that announced new digital products in Q1 2009 run the gamut from the 456,529-circulation The Atlantic, which launched new online channels for its politics and news coverage, to 1,294,824-circ Ebony, which launched a film, video production and distribution partnership for online and mobile. Martha Stewart Living even started a Twitter feed, among other digital initiatives, to promote the 2-million-circ Martha Stewart Living magazine.

These efforts seem to be paying off in the form of Web traffic: According to Nielsen data used by MPA in its analysis, magazine Web sites received 7.2% more unique monthly visitors than in Q1 last year, for an average of 75.8 million uniques in Q1. This increase shows an audience growth rate more than double that of the total US Internet audience. Consumers also are spending 1.3% more time on magazine sites than they did last year.

The MPA reported last year that 65 digital initiatives for magazines had launched in the first quarter of 2008.

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