I’m going to tell you a story. It may be an isolated story, but it underlines exactly why old-school magazine publishers will slowly die, unless they basically buck their ideas up.
My partner has a subscription to Vanity Fair and Vogue – both published by Conde Nast. This entitles her to the hard copy magazine and a digital version. So far so good.
In September her copy of Vogue failed to arrive – irritating but not unusual in the world of magazine subscriptions. Plus, she still had access to the digital version, and when Vanity Fair arrived as usual there was no reason to think it was anything but a blip.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, my partner’s access to the digital assets stopped. Downloads were frozen.
She rang them up and was told that the September issue of Vogue was undelivered and came back Return to Sender.
Apparently Conde Nast runs a policy that if this happens, it triggers an account freeze.
And not just a physical account freeze, but a digital freeze too.
That baffled me but, assuming they contact a subscriber electronically to let them know, that makes sense. Except they don’t. They just do it. No questions. No follow-up.
The customer services person then told my partner that now they knew all was in order they’d unfreeze the account and start resending physical magazines, with digital access available in 24 hours.
End of story, right? Well, it wouldn’t be much of one if that’s all there was to it, would it?