E-zine publisher takes its local model across the US

Detroit-based Issue Media Group launched business-themed e-zines in Cleveland and Philadelphia, increasing its national presence to 18 markets.

In the news

Detroit-based Issue Media Group launched business-themed e-zines in Cleveland and Philadelphia, increasing its national presence to 18 markets.

Why does it matter?

Issue Media has become a success story by reviving the push-content model. It delivers weekly e-mail magazines focused on development, innovation, and jobs in cities once considered to be in decline as media and business markets.

"It's almost like a Fast Company local edition, except it's weekly," explains Paul Schutt, who along with Brian Boyd and Deepa Ramsinghani, founded Issue Media in 2005. "We have beautiful photography that really showcases the market. While it's not all positive news, we are looking for stories on growth and investment in each market."

The company also benefits from a business model focused on NPR-like sponsorships and underwriting of editorial sections such as innovation and business, with a bit of licensing thrown in. "Before we open a market, we go in and pre-sell up to a year in advance and we secure sponsors and partnerships for annual commitments only," says Schutt. "Often these are very large banks, universities, or healthcare facilities or utilities, and it means that with our first issue we're cash-flow positive and profitable."

While centrally owned, each outlet hires a local publisher and editors and is seen as a home-grown media product.

"It has a good blend of business and innovation news, real estate development, and coverage of nonprofits, arts, and culture," says Mary Ann Miller, president of her eponymous Pittsburgh PR firm, about Pop City, Issue Media's local e-zine. "It tends to have a positive vibe, and my clients are always pleased to secure a placement."

Key facts

1. Issue Media's e-zines have a combined monthly readership of 1.4 million, with nearly half of those aged 45 and up, according to the company

2. Earlier this year, the company went international with the rollout of the Toronto e-zine, Yonge Street

3. Each Issue Media outlet augments its photo and editorial with videos done by local filmmakers, rather than video production people

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