By Scott Decker

Can Your Legacy Publication Support a Subscription Service? Esquire Thinks It Can.


BigContent Daily says:

Most publishers are looking to the future for revenue streams to keep their business model afloat. But unlike other publishers, Esquire is taking a look back to the beginning of their magazine to find opportunity.

Of course, Esquire is an institution in the publishing industry as an 82-year old magazine that has had everyone from John Updike to Stephen King to David Foster Wallace present prose within its covers. Next month’s issue marks their 1,000th issue and they’re looking to the past for revenue opportunities. Basically, they’re offering subscription access to their entire library of issues. All of them will be offered intact, complete with period advertising, for one price.

The question may be whether audiences will seek out this prose from nearly a century ago. Does it make sense for a publisher to just bring their content to customers as issues or would it make more sense for them to organize and tag the content for recirculation, packaging it in another way to make it more consumable for modern audiences on 21st century devices. To increase engagement, that would seem to be a good approach but maybe some editors might not approve of reusing content from 80 years ago for an Instagram post.

Moreover, this is a subscription service, not a one-time fee to get access to their content. 82 years is a lot of content but do they expect people to be sufficiently engaged with their content to keep that subscription going? How long do they expect their audience to need the subscription?

What do you think about Esquire’s subscription service plan?

Can Your Legacy Publication Support a Subscription Service? Esquire Thinks It Can.

For its 1,000th issue, Esquire is reaching back into its storied past. Esquire debuted in the autumn of 1933 with contributions from Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos and Dashiell Hammett. Over its 82-year existence, the famed men’s magazine has featured stories from other literary heavyweights including John Steinbeck, Norman Mailer and Stephen King.

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By Scott Decker
Scott Decker is the President and Founder of PublishThis. Before PublishThis, he led technology at, Blue Nile, and development solutions for the government. When he’s not running PublishThis, the industry’s most advanced content platform, he’s exploring new technologies, preparing for next Halloween, or watching something with superheroes, dinosaurs, or at least a lot of explosions.

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