What that really means is that the old print magazine business is dead. You remember: Print a ton of copies and stack them high on magazine stands. Try to sell half of them (a sell-through rate of 50% was considered great) for dirt cheap (12 issues for only $10!). Fill each copy with no fewer than seven (7) subscription cards, some bound in and some loose so they would fall out onto the floor to beg the reader's attention. Oh, and don't forget the big celebrity photo on the cover, with another big celebrity in a bubble near the top. And use orange (or some other color du jour) on the cover. And the single-copy price has to end in $.95. Those are scientifically proven to increase circulation.
Yeah, that business is dead.
You know what isn't dead? Making a great product for an audience who cares and charging money for it.
The guys at Monocle get this. The British magazine blends crosses several different categories, as the site describes: "a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design."
It's well written and well designed. And the content is interesting. But Monocle is much more than that. There are shops in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Hong Kong that sell exclusive products from small home furnishings to bikes and clothing. There are events available only to subscribers.
In other words, there's a complete brand experience.
The best part: a year's subscription is $117 (75 pounds). They're not begging you to pick them up with two issues FREE! They're making a good product and charging real money for it.
That may not be the future of print, but it may be the future of business.