Meet Zype and the Backlight team at NAB, Booth W3157
Meet Zype and the Backlight team
at NAB, Booth W3157

How do Magazines Make Money? (2020 Update)

By The Zype Team on August 29, 2019

Once upon a time, making money as a magazine was simple: Sell magazines and sell ads to make money. But in 2020, subscribers are more demanding and content more complex than ever. So if you own a magazine, blog or other publication, you’ve got to be creative to monetize your content.

At MAZ we’ve worked with hundreds of magazine brands, from titans like Bloomberg and Harvard Business Review to up-and-coming startups. If you want to bring your magazine business online and make money with a powerful Mobile or TV app, MAZ is the best platform to help you do it.

In this article we’ll review all the ways that magazines make money in 2020, and how you can do it too.

1. Print Subscriptions

Let’s start off with the most tried and true method: Print magazine subscribers. For legacy and established brands, print magazines are still a great steady source of income. Although cost of production can be high, print has a few distinct benefits a medium: 

First, print subscribers a loyal and reliable. Oftentimes they are long-time fans and will be less fickle than new readers. Second, print can serve as a flagship for brands to assert their presence (we all know how coveted magazine covers are). This prestige around print leads us directly into our next monetization strategy.

You can also distribute your magazine to retailers for individual sale, but this can get far more complex and be far less reliable.

2. Print Advertising

Again, another oldie but a goodie. Though it can be a pain to sell, advertisers will often pay top dollar for a good position in your publication. That’s because with a print magazine, you’re giving advertisers a lot more “real estate” to play with. This can lead to some brilliant creative options, which is a win-win for your advertisers, your readers and you. 

3. Online Subscriptions

Online subscriptions are erupting in 2020, from TV and music streaming to shaving kits and meal prep boxes. Magazines are playing a big role in pushing this revolution forward.

The beauty of online subscriptions is that they can live on any device. From traditional web to mobile and Connected TV apps, digital provides a much more diverse array of ways to connect with your subscribers. Plus, you can provide freemium content ‘previews’ to entice new subscribers and increase your conversion rates automatically.

This is an area we’ve seen so many brands succeed in, when equipped with the right tools. If you’re a serious magazine business in 2020, online subscriptions may very well be your future.

4. Digital Advertising

Running ads through your site, app experience and beyond can be an excellent way to boost your revenue. Some magazines remove ads as a perk for paying subscribers, while others choose to run purely on revenue from ads. For young businesses, getting ads set up can be as easy as plugging in a third-party service like Google AdSense.

Tools like MAZ allow you to directly embed ads into your app and increase revenue tenfold.

However you choose to structure your business, feel free to get creative with your ad presentation. The beauty of digital ads is that they can take many forms: Video, interactive banners, search results, and of course, sponsorships.

5. Sponsorships & Sponsored Content

Sponsorships are a form of advertising where a single partner buys out an entire piece, section or block of time. It’s effectively a wholesale advertising practice that brings the advertiser more attention at a higher cost. For magazines, that means amazing revenue margins and less sales work.

You can even allow advertisers to create ‘guest posts’ or collaborate on a particular piece or series, known as Sponsored Content. Advertisers will pay very well to share content that will grip your viewers’ attention and make them more likely to remember their brand. It’s an excellent way for you to create new content and generate revenue, when done well.

Again, this is another powerful feature that comes standard with MAZ’s magazine app platform.

6. Events & Conferences

The best way to get consumers excited about your magazine is to bring them in-person. Though it’s a high investment, creating an event or conference leads to a myriad of ways to make money: Ticket sales, merchandise, food and beverage, booth sales, advertising, etc.

Events can also be incredible promotion tool for your brand. We’ve seen events re-ignite fizzling brands and re-engage audiences in amazing ways. And if you do decide to throw and event big or small, our next tip is that you absolutely must live-stream it.

7. Live Streaming

Live streaming is a unique opportunity in 2020. It’s special because it keeps audiences engaged like a real-time event, but without the physical restrictions. Some platforms even allow you to directly monetize your livestream through in-chat donations and other fun features. 

8. Video, Podcasts, & More New Media.

Magazines today are so much more than print and paper. Brands are delving into new media like video, podcasts, VR/AR, music playlists and so much more. The key to finding success as a modern magazine is to discover where your audience lives and meet them there.

Each new platform comes with its own unique monetization strategy (and many yet-to-be-discovered strategies a well). Be creative and see what your audience responds to!

However you choose to monetize your magazine and make money, be sure that you’re equipped with the right tools. Using a platform like MAZ can instantly help you multiply your profits, with easy tools for subscriptions, paywalls, ad integrations, content distribution and more. 

For any questions or comments, be sure to reach out to us at or request a demo with us on our site.

Harness the power of Zype's video infrastructure