Until last year putting ads on magazine covers was a big no-no in the magazine industry. Critics argued ads on magazine covers compromised editorial integrity. But with ad revenue down, many magazines started experimenting with cover ads as pouches, flaps and other gimmicky solutions. Scholastic Parent & Child magazine took a much simpler approach by putting ad directly on its cover, starting with its April 2009 issue.
At first, the American Society of Magazine Editors was a critic, blasting Entertainment Weekly and ESPN The Magazine for crossing the line. But later the organization came around to the idea, stating to The New York Times in August that House Beautiful magazine’s pouch cover-ad was acceptable because "There is no problem with running advertising next to editorial; it’s only a problem when a magazine uses the cover for just advertising purposes."
Now some new research is going to add fuel to the debate. Ads on the front cover often outperform magazines’ other "premium" placement, according to the research from Affinity’s Vista service, reports Ad Age.
Will publishers be able to resist? How will readers react? Tell us what you think.