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Joint editor-in-chief of Women’s and Men’s Health UK explains new membership focus for brands

Memberships are a priority focus for Women’s Health UK and Men’s Health UK in 2024 according to editor-in-chief Claire Sanderson.


Hearst has been bitten by the membership bug. Elle UK, Women’s Health UK and Men’s Health UK have all rolled out membership plans, with more Hearst brands planning to do the same in the future.

But the question which came to my mind reading this, and indeed when the original announcements were made a year ago, is why has it taken this long to launch memberships for brands like Women’s Health? Sure it’s not exactly a ‘niche’, but subscribers to the magazine are prime targets for content-adjacent products like training plans, workout videos, and communities. Given the strength of the content, membership plans like this really prove their value when compared with other fitness course offerings from non-publishers.

I think it’s a very, very good time to be a publisher with ‘interest’ brands, whether that be gardening, fitness or cooking. Time and time again, people are showing they will pay for high quality content and services that indulge their passions. I just wonder why it’s taken Hearst so long to get stuck in.

Why has Hearst only recently turned its hand to memberships? Revenue pressures, waiting to see how other publishers fare, or have their priorities simply been elsewhere? Share your thoughts in our forum.

More from Media Moments 2023


Apple wants to train its AI with news publisher content

Apple has reportedly begun negotiations with major news publishers over permission to use their content as it develops its own generative AI platforms.

This snippet of news snuck through just before Christmas so I almost missed it! Not one to sit back in the tech wars, Apple is, of course, developing its own framework to create large language models (LLMs) – basically it’s developing its own version of ChatGPT (apparently its engineers have named it Apple GPT). The company is looking to secure multiyear deals worth at least $50 million to license the archives of news articles.


Magazines were supposed to die in the digital age. Why haven’t they?

As digital media took off in the 2010s, few believed magazines could survive. While the industry isn’t what is once was, magazines are still very much alive, but why?

This is a topic we’ve discussed extensively the last few months, from community posts about a renewed Gen Z interest in print, to our own round-up of the year in print, published last week. Still, it’s nice to have a big-picture look at the state of the market from The Conversation.


Why digital news subscription price hikes don’t tell the full story

Digital news subscription prices rose 19% in 2023, but because publishers commonly offer significant discounts higher prices will not necessarily lead to significantly greater revenues.

I noted in the newsletter earlier this week that price hikes across publications potentially meant more of a focus on revenue per user this year. But analysis from the FT has found that many top streaming services have also jacked up prices by around 20%, with analysts speculating that this allows apparently more tempting discounts to be made. “A higher headline price makes sense, even if nobody actually pays it,” said Axate’s Dominic Young.

More from Media Voices


Integrating AI into newsrooms: experiment, report, measure

In the second episode of this two-part series from Mx3 AI, we look at why, how and when publishers are integrating AI into their newsrooms.


AI in the newsroom: Opportunities, regulation and risk

We set the scene for AI and its use in publishing, as experts tell us how to prepare for internal and external changes to media businesses.


Info: The Publisher Newsletter Summit and Publisher Podcast Summit

Find out more about the Publisher Newsletter Summit and Publisher Podcast Summit from the Media Voices team, and register your interest for speaking, sponsoring or attending.

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