Porsches and pot publishing

The news of The Denver Post eliminating its editorial staff for The Cannabist caught my attention.

But before getting into that, I want to talk about cars. I’m a big Porsche fan. I’ve owned almost a dozen classic, air-cooled 911s over the years and currently own a 1985 Carrera 3.2 and a 1996 993 Turbo. Both are pristine examples that reside in my garage.

I love driving them on nice days and taking them to car shows. I also subscribe to three great print magazines that cater to Porsche aficionados. The annual cost each of the publications is about $40, and I eagerly await their delivery each month (one is published in the United Kingdom and distributed worldwide).

Why mention this? I started to think about The Cannabist and its demise. How could the largest and most widely read digital cannabis publication fail when it only had half a dozen staff and none of the costs associated with printing and mailing a traditional magazine? I suspect the short answer is that the site could never generate enough ad revenue to cover its overhead and make a profit. The longer and more interesting answer is probably quite complicated and ties into the Porsche magazines I mentioned. While there are websites dedicated to folks who love classic cars, and Porsches in particular, my guess is that they are mostly visited by people who aspire to own one of the cars or gearheads who click on the sites to read up on the marque. Owners — like me — who have Porsches in their garage and who might actually buy a custom exhaust system or new wheels, almost certainly subscribe to the print magazines.

Advertisers know this.

They know that if they want to reach Porsche collectors and owners, the best way to reach them is to advertise in the Porsche print magazines. It makes sense, because anyone willing to go to the expense and trouble of subscribing to a print magazine is likely an owner or hardcore enthusiast. And that’s who the advertisers want to reach.

Which gets me back to The Cannabist and its demise.

Marijuana Venture is a traditional print magazine. We mail it to business owners, registered cannabis retailers and subscribers who pay $39.99 a year to have it delivered to their homes or workplaces. We also send about 10,000 copies to retail stores like Barnes & Noble, Hudson News, Chapters and Fry’s Electronics, where an interested party can pick one up for $7.99. The traditional print model is cumbersome and expensive compared to digital. However, like with the Porsche magazines mentioned above, it’s a model that tends to reach the readers that cannabis advertisers covet: Those who own a business or have a genuine interest in getting into the cannabis industry. I’d even go one step further and say that our particular print model with paid subscribers is even more effective and focused than the free distribution model practiced by a couple of our business competitors who send free magazines to anyone who registers at one of their trade shows.

In the end, what advertisers want is quality readers, and Marijuana Venture’s print model, while expensive, ensures that the readers of the magazine are serious about this industry.

 

Greg James

Publisher

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