Back on Track
Webster was surprised to learn that Hearst didn't particularly want to boost R&T's circulation--it promises advertisers a base rate of 600,000 issues per month and wasn't interested in offering discounts or giveaways to go beyond that.
Another historic metric of a magazine's success, newsstand sales, is itself fading into history, Webster says, "because the physical newsstands are disappearing." Still, he and his bosses are encouraged to see more people paying for the magazine: "The number of free issues that our circulation department gives out to maintain rate base ... is in the single digits, well under 5 percent."
Csere assumes that Hearst has "a multi-year time frame" for Road & Track's editorial transformation to pay off financially. But that's out of Webster's hands, so he's not going to worry about it.
"At the end of the day, there's not much you can do but make the magazine that you're proud of," he says. "And, hopefully, it works."
[Originally published in February, 2014.]