Editor’s Note: “Taking Off in Public” is a digital series written by Craig Fuller, the new owner of Flying magazine. In this series, Fuller will provide insight into his plans for Flying and a first-hand look at how Flying is being built for the next generation.
The past two months have been some of the most exciting of my life. I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with a passion of mine and meet people across the aviation community. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.
One of the realities of buying a business and looking at it from a new perspective is that you find things that need to be changed for the long-term health of the business. Initially, I had planned to invest deeply in digital only and end the print publication entirely. But after spending a lot of time with the Flying community, I learned how important and special the print edition of Flying truly is. Print magazines create a special relationship with the reader and enable them to participate in a journey that isn’t possible in digital.
But one of the rules I have in running a business is that if you are going to offer a product, you must aim for excellence. With that, we plan to upgrade the print edition at the end of the year, with the finest paper and covers available to magazine publishers. Additionally, we’ll double down on photography and evergreen content. We are also planning to get rid of the ads in the back of the magazine which have nothing to do with aviation. (You know the ones I am talking about.)
As I’ve discussed before, we want the new Flying to be coffee-table worthy, even for the most discerning members of our audience.
The other thing I’ve discovered is just how broken the newsstand supply chain is. Distributing magazines through newsstands is a loser for publishers. To give you some context, for every issue Flying distributes through the newsstand, it generates $.11 in revenue. Yet, it costs $1.10 to print and fulfil. If issues aren’t sold at retail, the magazines are thrown away and the retailer is not out of money, but the publisher is. This seems nuts, but it’s a relic of a bygone era and was used by publishers as a subscriber acquisition strategy. With digital advertising, there are far more efficient channels to acquire subscribers. I would rather see that money go into creating a beautiful experience for our readers and one they can be proud of.
At the end of the year, Flying will no longer be sold on newsstands. In order to get the print version of Flying, you must become a subscriber. But, I promise the print edition of Flying is about to receive a massive upgrade in terms of quality and beauty. I can’t wait to publish our first edition. Look for it in January.
In the meantime, you can subscribe to Flying by going here.