The Spectator is harnessing digital to get record print sales

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

This is rather spectacular:

The Spectator's growth

Spectator subscriptions are at an all-time high, but not only that — print subscriptions are, too.

Here’s how editor Fraser Nelson expains it:

Digital is behind the renaissance of print. The website brings millions of people to The Spectator and they can read two articles a week before being invited to subscribe for full access. When they do, the vast majority choose our print and digital package. At £12 for a three-month trial, it’s a no-brainer. Then, those who never thought they’d get into the habit of reading a print magazine find that they’re hooked: drawn in to stories by Morten Morland’s illustrations, the photography, the pull-quotes. The joy of a magazine is stumbling across new stories, finding the quality of writing draws you in to a subject that normally bores you. The vast majority of those on a trial subscription move on to a full subscription.

The idea that print and digital are in opposition to each other is a false dichotomy. The Spectator have done a great job of harnessing podcasts, blogs and more to draw attention to their offerings, and convert them to subscribers. Good joined-up thinking.

I started reading The Specatator after the Brexit vote, because I realised that I really didn’t understand how the right in the UK think. I’ve found it a surprisingly compelling titles. There are still certain writers whose presence in their pages makes me uncomfortable, but it’s a good magazine none-the-less.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.