Mags try free web subs to lure college kids

Publishers see the web as a way to maintain contact with the ever-changing population of college campuses.

Always on the lookout for new ways to lure the lucrative student demographic, magazines publishers are now giving away free subscriptions to the web version of Elle in hopes that students will buy the print version, reports The New York Times.

The Magazine Publishers of America is launching a digital subscription drive, in hopes that co-eds will go out and buy the magazine in print. Thousands of students will be receiving free e-mails subscriptions where they can click on the link to get a digital replica of the magazine, including text, photos and advertising.

"Colleges have typically been a black hole for magazines in terms of distribution," Jack Kliger, the president and chief executive of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., said. "There's always been a difficulty in reaching college students because the physical distribution issues are very unique to colleges in that nobody stays in one place for very long."

College students seem to be the focus of many marketing campaigns this year, and magazine publishers representing their advertisers know that. The fact that students use the web much more frequently makes it a very viable advertising venue.

"There's no question that younger people are much more oriented toward getting information from the web than older people," said James Meigs, the editor in chief of Popular Mechanics, a Hearst publication. "But that doesn't mean they don't have a place for magazines in their lives."


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