Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

MediaWatch: The 154 Year old Atlantic Magazine's Digital Transition

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 21, 2011

The Atlantic Magazine celebrates its 154 year anniversary this year and it also chalks up another rare achievement: it has crossed the digital divide and now makes more revenue from its online operations than print.

Jeremy Peters, at The New York Times' Media Decoder reports:

“When I started in ’08, digital was 9 percent of our total ad revenue,” said Jay Lauf, publisher of The Atlantic. “With digital, everybody in the business is always talking about trading print dimes for digital dollars. Well, for the first time we’re actually beating print.” October’s split was 51 percent digital, 49 percent print.

The Atlantic, which expects to make about $18.6 million from advertising this year, or slightly more than half of its total revenue, said the growth in its online share of business was not because of a decline in the share of print revenue. It sold more ads in the October issue of the magazine than it had in any other issue since David Bradley bought it from Mortimer B. Zuckerman in 1999, Mr. Lauf said.

The Atlantic has done well, but, it's traffic relies a lot on its "aggregation" -- short items drawing attention to content on other sites. It's tough to make money in the media business and while revenue is important, so are profits and it's not clear what those are for The Atlantic.

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