Going backward is really moving forward

8:21 AM

Yes, Airplanista Magazine has again made yet another big change. We have scrubbed our subscription model and have reverted back to the free model for all, no login or paid subscription needed.

For those readers who were gracious enough to support the magazine with a paid subscription, emails have gone out describing options for refunds if desired.

Because everyone wants to know what happened, here’s the quick version:

Airplanista Magazine started out as an experiment to see if the material usually found on my old Blog, World of Flying, would be viewed by more people in a slicker, magazine flipbook format. The first issue, October, 2010, we expected 1,000 readers and because of lots of buzz in the aviation media, we received 11,000! I knew I had found a niche.

In the months that have followed, the magazine grew in size, and people really started talking about it online. By April of this year, we were averaging about 6,000 readers a month. But the time and effort to produce the magazine was taking a toll on staff here at Celeste/Daniels, my ad agency and creative studio. In order to stay at this heightened level of work and also justify my personal time commitment, we chose to develop a subscription system to try and monetize the project.

We soft launched the subscription system with the April issue, and immediately, readership fell off a cliff. Subscriptions were not coming in as expected. We continued this soft launch in the May issue, and again lost a significant portion of our readership. And this month, when we went to a full paid subscription system, we lost more readers and were seeing almost no subscriptions. It became obvious that this subscription system was quickly killing off the magazine.

A decision had to be made. I had three options...(1) Keep the subscription system and watch readership drop from thousands a month to hundreds, (2) Go back to the free model or (3) Stop producing Airplanista Magazine entirely. Of those three options, we chose #2.
In contemplating this decision, I realized that in trying to monetize the project, we were losing sight of our primary mission, which I have explained at length here in the revised June issue. It came down to this:
Airplanista Magazine exists to try and celebrate, honor and assist proponents of GA, and offer the positive side of aviation. I was being drawn to stories of these people, and trying to charge for the book was a big, big mistake. I want to continue telling these stories, and producing the magazine is far more important to me than using it to generate revenue.

So we have gone back to an free format, but are staying with the rather expensive but also rather remarkable Mobile 3.0 platform we were using with the paid version. I am prepared to eat the costs of publishing via this platform in the name of helping GA grow. There is no cost or obligation now to read it at Airplanista.com, and we have placed a “Contribute” button plainly on our home page to allow anyone who wants to support the mission of the magazine by kicking in a few dollars to keep it going forward.
Now I need to ask a favor. If you read this far, you must be a true "Airplanista." Please go online somewhere and post the URL of http://airplanista.com and tell people it’s OK now to come back, Airplanista Magazine is again free and still as cool as ever. We love our magazine, and know lots of you do too. Please help us grow it once again so we can do more good.

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