Hearst Corp. has attracted 800,000 subscribers for the digital versions of its magazines, according to Hearst President David Carey, who revealed the number in a letter to Hearst employees circulated this week.
That’s a bit short of Carey’s earlier stated goal of accumulating 1 million digital subscribers by the end of 2012, but noting the growing popularity of
e-readers and tablet computers, he expressed confidence that Hearst will reach that milestone soon.
The number touted by Carey includes customers with monthly subscriptions to Hearst titles on iPads and Android devices, as well as e-readers like Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. Carey claimed that more than 80% of the subscribers are new to Hearst’s products. That's an interesting disclosure, which holds out the hope that the rise of digital magazines can provide incremental growth for the magazine business in general, rather than merely duplicating or replacing existing audiences.
Meanwhile on the Web, the number of monthly unique visitors to Hearst’s Web sites increased 30%, and page views from mobile devices grew from 39 million per month at the end of 2011 to 186 million per month at the end of 2012. The company’s brands have also accumulated a total of 7.7 million Facebook fans, as well as 5.5 million followers on Pinterest, and 4.7 million followers on Twitter.
Carey was quick to note that Hearst is still investing in print with the launch of new titles like HGTV Magazine in the U.S., produced in partnership with Scripps Network, which had over 700,000 paid subscribers by year’s end, plus a number of foreign editions, including Esquire in Singapore and Colombia, and Harper’s Bazaar in Poland.
Other Hearst titles got redesigned print editions, with big revamps at Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping, soon to be followed by Road & Track and Redbook this year.
In an interesting reversal, some new print products are based on digital products:
Delish.com. Hearst’s “foodie” destination, published a print special which was included with editions of six titles at Wal-Mart in November, producing a 22% increase in single copy