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A Magazine Goes Ad-Free to Cut Costs


Prevention, a health and wellness magazine, has decided to cut costs. The solution? Suppress advertising. By definition, publications fight for every ad penny for their survival. Yet Prevention arrived at a counter-intuitive conclusion. In order to matter to advertisers, the magazine has to maintain a certain circulation level. But that forced the publication, owned by the New York-based Rodale media group, to offer steep discounts or give issues away for free. It also needed to maintain specialized staff. Now it is going ad-free; doubling its annual subscription cost from $24.00 to $48.00, and setting up a paywall on its website. Its new editor, Barbara O’Dair, relishes the editorial freedom that will come with it. For example, she intends to devote coverage to medical marijuana, a topic that might spook advertisers. Still, we believe there may be no need to sacrifice advertising. Digital advertising has minimal costs and has potentially wider impact, so advertisers themselves may appeal to the company for ad space. Moreover, advertising is a service. It informs consumers about new, and better products. It’s at the heart of competition, and what makes for a better market for the readers of Prevention—mostly women who are 40 years old and older—and the wider public.

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