EAGLE COUNTY — A new magazine is a tasty appetizer for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships before the main course arrives in February of next year.
That magazine is 2015, a big, glossy magazine produced by the Vail Daily Magazine Division, along with the Vail Valley Foundation, which is producing the two-week ski racing extravaganza. The magazine — with an initial press run of 50,000 copies — is now available throughout the Vail Valley. It’s also being distributed elsewhere in Ski Country, in markets including Aspen, Summit County, Telluride, Steamboat Springs and Park City. Readers in parts of the Denver area will also be able to take a summer peek at the coming winter’s high point.
“It’s been a special magazine — there’s been a lot of interest,” Vail Daily Magazine Division General Manager Susan Ludlow said.
The expanded distribution is a first for the company’s magazine division. But Vail Daily Publisher Don Rogers said 2015 may not be the last magazine the company produces, then distributes outside the Vail Valley.
“We have the ability — the future of regional distribution is still open,” Rogers said.
Since 2011, the Vail Daily’s magazine division has more than quadrupled its advertising revenue in a time when “experts” continue to spout the belief that “print is dead.”
That’s one reason Ludlow was brought aboard in July of 2013 to run the company’s magazine division. A longtime veteran of the magazine industry, Ludlow is a firm believer that magazines aimed at very specific audiences can be successful in those markets.
Rogers said that effort is enhanced by the Vail Daily’s existing distribution system. Since the newspaper goes virtually everywhere in the valley, the company’s ART magazine can be placed in different places than Dance, ensuring more readership for both.
Bringing Ludlow in was part of a broader strategy of making the Vail Daily’s magazine operations separate from the daily newspaper, Rogers said. So far, that strategy seems to be working.
“I’m very happy with our progress,” Rogers said.
Ludlow said she’s been happy with the division’s progress, too.
“Every magazine we do is larger than it was last year,” Ludlow said. “We’ve found that there’s a lot of interest in magazines, from both advertisers and consumers.”
While the newspaper and magazines are increasingly separate operations, there are common elements. Both Ludlow and Rogers praised the job that the distribution crew has been doing, and both also praised the work done by Vail Daily Managing Editor Ed Stoner.
“I think Ed’s experience at the Olympics was very helpful for this project,” Rogers said.
Stoner led a special Olympics section last year and was in Sochi, Russia, in February, where he was a one-man print and Internet content machine for Swift Communications, the Vail Daily’s parent company.
Ironically, Ludlow was on a well-deserved family vacation when the first boxes of 2015 arrived at the Vail Daily’s office. She and her crew had just published 12 magazines in eight weeks. Those titles include Golf, Beaver Creek Experience, Dance, EAT, ART, Vail Lifestyle and Home, the company’s monthly real estate magazine.
“It’s really a three-season business,” Ludlow said. “It’s winter, spring and summer.” Now, of course, it’s time to start working on the company’s winter publications.”
“We have the ability — the future of regional distribution is still open.”
Vail Daily Publisher