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Starship Sofa Podcast: The State of Asimov's [Oct. 25th, 2009|01:41 pm]
oldcharliebrown

I found this of some interest, though it brought up a lot of questions. I understand that Publishers Clearing House artificially inflated the numbers for both digests, but that was in the early 1980s, almost thirty years ago, right? By 1996 the subscriber base had gone back to its original level, of about 50,000. So . . . if the PCH subscribers didn't stick around, which is shown by the years 1984 through the early 1990s, then can you necessarily blame PCH for the losses from 1996 to 2009? We're talking a loss of 30,000 subscribers for Analog, and 26,000 subscribers for Asimov's, for this time period, starting almost thirteen years ago. So the losses in recent years can't be attributed to PCH. That ship has gone and sailed off into the sunset. I suppose you could blame it on newstand sales attrition, but the numbers are actually proportionally small. So that can't be it. Either way this is further discussed here:

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[User Picture]From: kaolinfire
2009-10-29 08:31 am (UTC)
I did wonder about the "80's PCH numbers"--admittedly that makes sense for a huge drop, but the numbers I've seen posted have always been year-over-year losses, not just the "OMG the 80's!" bit; that said, the "OMG the 80's" bit did need addressing as well. But Asimov's says their numbers are up 10% over last year--I can't remember if she said they were up over the year before that, or for how long; it sounds like they're making major ground with digital distribution, finally, so perhaps this was a turning point for them?

There's no question that they need serious work on their PR. =/
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[User Picture]From: oldcharliebrown
2009-11-03 12:59 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, though when you've shed nearly twenty thousand subscribers in ten years, and numbers are only now up ten percent, we're talking a statistically-small increase. You'd need a lot more years to work from to see if there is an upward trend, and those numbers simply aren't available. Too much of what is said publicly is simply hand-waving, and not representative of what is actually going on.

Mind you the PCH trick might have worked, if anyone had actually gone after advertising, but if you study the pre-PCH issues, with the PCH-issues, you see that there's no bump in advertising revenues. There's the same number of advertisements, so the PCH subscriptions actually hurt in the short-run. And who knows how many PCH subscribers actually stuck around? For all we know the entire campaign did result in subscriber-retention. But we'll never know.

The attrition, for subscribers, is indeed slowing down, after four straight years, but that could be because you're hitting the subscriber core.
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