The only time money is a topic in print, is when discussing declining advertising revenue and declining subscriptions, at least in most aviation print outfits.
Missed issues generally spell subscription losses, which then have to be countered by increased cost for regaining expired & finding new business.
It is highly unlikely
that long time members of SPA cancel their membership over a few months without the magazine, the check writing is pretty well habituated. God knows how many don't even notice one or two magazines missing or have long stopped reading altogether.
I have seen my former publishing house (offering some 27 titles in print, with 160 employees) burn funds to the tune of CRY! on one single issue
(out of 14 per year) to make absolutely certain
that subscribers have their magazine on time. If there are technical issues its generally related to the printing outlet tasked with the production, or distribution problems leading to delays.
A yearly SPA membership fee is $55 dollars bringing the cost of each issue to $9.17. Plus a decal for 10 cents a pop.
$65 for an international membership and that is calculated with a well sharpened pencil - probably mostly absorbed in postage...
Considering that various U.S. aviation print magazines are punching 12-14 issues per year at about $45 - $60 annually, you quickly realize what a single 1/1 page ad needs to produce in $$$'s in order to get the magazine profitable. After you have practiced for a bit, you can scan a 125 page magazine quickly and determine how many customers jumped, got replaced or (at least on average) how much money was made with the issue. In print you fly through EVERY competitors magazine, count their ads, apply their sales logic and evaluate how well your own sales staff is doing. In the rarest cases does anyone in print have time to actually read articles. Count ads, look at the editorial, look what they missed and what they plan to do next month. Then get on the horn and explain to your customer why you can do it better, quicker, more precise or hanging upside down from a ceiling fan. Go SELL.
Now, there is content and news filling 13 Waterflying Magazines easily, hands down - no questions asked - except you need to really crank it up and run after these people. I see how much running and head-spinning it requires to follow up with people for just one article a day, as you have to edit, often rewrite and format everything for your particular publication, online or print. Online, its a constant battle
to try and bring the news fairly quickly, whereas in print, more time is spent on evaluating a companies advertising potential prior to considering giving them space in your magazine.
Still, by the time you go into publication, the websites out there have already provided the same news, much more information, cross-links to further information among better pictures, live video streams or feeds through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and all the countless others.
Its already difficult for a website to set itself apart with all the constant bombarding and following out there, the competition is old, experienced and stiff.
I would not want to run print. No thank you, mam.
I have been approached at least 5 times about going into print with Seaplanemagazine.com. Every time I am somewhat tempted, but ultimately too much of a believer in the dying dinosaur theory and too concerned about printing quality and worldwide distribution costs. Heck, some companies having done this for a living for 50 years are running into some severely rocky water, these days. The business is online. Companies will come around and see that Facebook didn't bring all that much.
I haven't talked with Steve in a loooong time but would venture a guess that the magazine is primarily brought to its readers by advertisers. At least those big companies help a lot
to prevent a complete breakdown. The void between young and old is barely fill-able anymore, we have two generations living in almost completely different worlds. I have tried to fix this for years and failed royally. Seaplanemagazine.com is the first endeavor I can feel succeeding among the younger generation of pilots.
It requires a tremendous amount of work and time - but at least companies are taking note of the potential, reach and service it provides to this industry.
None of these companies NEEDS to advertise, most do it because they (a) have always done it, or; (b) they know that there would be no single print or online magazine out there, if it wasn't for them. This thesis holds more and more true, especially online. If I want to cover just two large events next year, I will need to find companies to make it possible. Asking readers or members for help usually turns into catastrophic failure.