One year ago this week, the founding management team reacquired RACER
, and set in motion a series of steps to re-establish the magazine's and brand's leadership position.
First off, RACER was dramatically redesigned with improved production values along with enhanced and expanded editorial content, along the lines envisioned by founder and Executive Publisher Paul Pfanner, who notes, "Average issue size has gone from 76 pages to 120. RACER is again setting the standard."
Of course, setting standards only counts if people are seeing the fruit of your labors, and by returning RACER to national newsstand circulation, the magazine once again is front and center in major bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. The return on that investment is already being seen.
"We reversed a negative seven-year trend and turned a 10% annual decline in paid subscribers into 25% annual growth," relates Pfanner. "This is supported by a high – above 70% – renewal rate without steep discounts. Total BPA qualified circulation was barely 15,000 one year ago and we expect to top 20,000 with the current issue. With the May 2013 issue, total distribution will be more than 30,000 copies."
The bolstered circulation has also assisted ad sales, with RACER's Winter 2012 issue being the largest in the magazine's history at 140 pages – 62 of which were ad pages. With more advertising support comes scope for more of the great editorial content RACER is committed to providing for our readers.
The revitalized newsstand presence has gone hand in hand with a stepped-up effort to enhance visibility of the RACER brand at major racing events over the past year.
"We have undertaken numerous at-event promotions, including Long Beach, Indy, Lime Rock, Auto Club Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with many more planned," says Pfanner.
Meanwhile, the magazine's reach into digital media has also been extended. Last November, a free RACER App and paid digital editions and subscriptions became available for the first time on the Apple, Android and Amazon Kindle mobile device newsstands. And with the help of our advertisers and race series partners, more than three million customized digital editions of RACER have been distributed.
Part of that ciculation success also stems from a successful reboot of custom publishing capabilities. At the end of 2012, RACER produced a special bonus "Dream Season" issue of RACER for Chevrolet and Cadillac. Six versions were produced in both print and digital formats with extensive distribution to fans beyond RACER's readership (the issue was mailed to subscribers as a free bonus not counting against their paid subscriptions). Click here to view.
The growth curve is also evident online: RACER.com has demonstrated solid growth in advertisers and pages views over the past year, with over 100,000 unique visitors and consistently generating more than 500,000 page views from September onward. The site will soon relaunch with an updated design and technology optimized for mobile devices to leverage expanded and upgraded content offerings.
RACER's upgraded online footprint has also been reflected by an improved presence in social media presence has also improved in the past year, Pfanner notes. "RACER's Facebook likes have skyrocketed from 3,500 to more than 25,000, while our Twitter followers jumped from 6,000 to more than 10,000," he says.
It's all part of a cohesive program aimed at building on the successes of RACER's first 250 issues and continuing the magazine's growth across an ever-expanding and evolving publishing landscape.
"Challenges remain, but that's part of what makes this industry so rewarding to work in," Pfanner adds. "Just like a racing team is only as good as the drivers and crews who continually make their racecars faster, a magazine is only as good as the talents and efforts that go into it, and I'm extremely proud of the magazines we are creating. I'm so grateful to our editorial and advertising teams for all their hard work to make this magazine great again over the past year, and to all our readers and advertisers for their enthusiastic support and encouragement. I'm also confident in saying that the best is still yet to come!"
- The RACER team is currently in the final stages of production on our gala 21st Anniversary May 2013 Edition, but there is still time be part of this amazing issue #250, which celebrates racing's greatest heroes. Please contact our ad manager Sophia Lopez to be part of what promises to be our best issue yet:Sophia.Lopez@RACER.com or call 949-417-6722