In a world where high-margin opportunities are less common for publishers, special sections remain a great money-maker. That may explain why Meredith Corporation and the New York Times are making use of one-time titles once again to maximize their reach and profits.
Special sections, also referred to as a special edition or special interest magazines, are one-off magazines meant to capture the hype or exposure on a focused topic. Many times, special sections fall into the “bookazine” category, being significantly longer editions and hyper-focused. This said, with the pursuit of new revenue options, some publications are doing smaller but more frequent special sections, as they tend to have much higher profit margins with the same print run size and audience.
The Meredith/Times special section recently released was a “Summer of 69” issue with a unique spin to the special section concept: multi-publication collaboration. This special section, the first New York Times standalone magazine ever, was built with the help of Meredith Corp., one of the nation’s largest magazine producers, to coordinate with the standard coverage within the New York Times newspaper that was covering the 50th anniversary of the event.
While there have been numerous publications to coordinate content between their parent title and their special sections, completely independent publications working together is not a common practice. This action shows a potential opportunity for publishers to not only expand their profit options, but to help keep each other standing strong in an economy that has not been kind to publishers in general.
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