Home
Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker
Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
Photo Gallery
Transcript

Session:         Page of 824

and then selling the idea of a magazine that big. Because I think we got to 5.2 million by--what?--late 1940s or 1950, something like that, which was an enormous figure in those days. I think the Post was still under four million after 150 years, or whatever it was. So you also had the problem of getting the advertiser accustomed to these big prices. And they were very big prices for several reasons, including the problem that LIFE always had, and the other “big” magazines had, which was the big page. Nobody really understood that the big page cost a hell of a lot more dough and you can't get it back from the advertiser. The CPM cost per thousand for LIFE and Time would be roughly the same. In fact, it might well be that Time's CPM was higher. One of the reasons our margins on LIFE were never as good as they should be was directly related to the size. For instance, the LIFE page was four times the Reader's Digest page in size. When the Reader's Digest started taking advertising, it didn't charge one quarter as much. It was able to charge--I don't know--a half, or something like that. Obviously, that allowed for a much better margin. So we were never as profitable as we should have been.

By the 1950s, we were doing pretty well. But even though our profits were going up, reaching, I think 15 or 17 million dollars in the mid 50s--and LIFE had become practically two-thirds of the company in sheer volume--you could tell, mainly by newsstands, but sometimes even by subscriptions, that it didn't sell as easily as it used to.

[end of side one of tape; beginning of side two].

And this made me very uncomfortable. And being in a very



© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help