Broker Roundtable: Magazine Subscriber Files

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Welcome to Broker Roundtable, where each week we ask list brokers to give their opinions on issues that matter to the marketing community. This week’s question: With the steady growth of electronic media, are magazine subscriber files still important to mailers?

Our panel includes Leland Kroll of Kroll Direct Marketing Inc.; Pat Leone, of Leon Henry Inc.; Stefanie Pont, of Pont Media Direct; Jay Schwedelson of Worldata and Herb Torgersen of DirectInnovations Inc. Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs (

Leland Kroll, president, Kroll Direct Marketing Inc.:
Controlled and paid circulation files will continue to be extremely relevant for direct marketers, just like catalog buyer, survey respondent and compiled database files. We are seeing much more significant quantities of email address files being updated or introduced. Prices for online data continue to decrease as well making them much more attractive. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been an encrypted email merge purge product introduced to the marketplace as advanced as the “e-liminate” process that IntraSouce had offered many years ago. A service such as that would certainly advance the use of email data in today’s growing online market.

Pat Leone, senior account executive, Leon Henry Inc.:
Magazine lists will always be important. They represent a significant percentage of names generally available and if a mailer needs a very large list to be able to target geographically, these are some of the best files to approach. They also represent a smorgasbord of lifestyles and interests to choose from.

Stefanie Pont, managing partner, Pont Media Direct:
This question always irritates the Luddite in me. People still subscribe to print medium. They are just more discerning about what they read. So I’d say that magazine lists remain extremely important. The prospect with the mindset to purchase a product that requires time spent with it is a valuable prospect. There is also a definitive “pass along” to a print product that cannot be discounted. And as more online sources find that they have to pay for the content they acquire and charge for the content they provide, there will always be a segment of the population that sees it as a wash and continues to pay for the printed version.

Jay Schwedelson, CEO, Worldata:
The issue with magazine oriented lists has to do the aggressive nature of circulation related efforts. Subscription agents and digital subscriptions are creating list universes that are not responsive when used for direct mail campaigns. As magazine publishers try to keep circulation numbers high they are propping them up with subscriptions that aren’t truly valuable. This hurts the advertisers in the magazine and the users of these lists. This is pushing marketers to rely more on data models and other new sources to replace many of the subscription files that have begun to see a drop in performance related to these issues.

Herb Torgersen, president, DirectInnovations Inc.:
I personally believe that magazine lists still have a firm setting in the direct mail/direct marketing landscape. While magazine subscriber bases continue to shrink they do offer direct marketers key data points in that their subscriber bases are still generally made up of direct response buyers and offer marketers that ability to target consumer based on the affinity of the editorial content correlated to their offers.

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