How Does the National Interest Online Magazine Make Money?

National Interest Online Magazine is a glossy magazine that covers politics and international affairs. Its articles are often syndicated to other news websites, and it has been known to draw millions of page views per month. This is certainly a profitable venture for its publisher, The New Press, but how does this online magazine make money?


The simplest way for a magazine to make money is to sell advertisements. National Interest Online has a number of prominent and well-known advertisers that pay good money for the opportunity to have their products and services featured in its pages. Although the majority of its revenue comes from advertisements, this magazine does have a small affiliate income stream based on the actions of its readers. When someone clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase, the publisher earns a small commission.


Another way a magazine can make money is by charging subscribers money to read their content. National Interest was launched with a paid membership option, and it still has a subscription option today. Although this magazine mostly focuses on free content, members get early access to important news stories and can take advantage of various special offers and discounts. For instance, members of American Progress get access to weekly policy debates and opportunities to get involved in the forum, which encourages reader engagement.


When someone shops online but doesn’t buy the item once they arrive at the warehouse, there’s term for that behavior: showrooming. The same concept applies to magazine reading. A lot of people read the magazine’s content online but don’t subscribe. So although they gain valuable information from these articles, they never actually get a chance to read the magazine because they already have access to it. This reduces the value proposition somewhat, but it’s still valuable information. The opposite of showrooming is blind shopping, where someone reads an article about a particular product and then buys that item without ever having seen it in real life or being presented with a good alternative.

A/B Testing

Testing is important when it comes to online marketing and conversions. Marketers often run A/B tests where they split the traffic for a couple of different webpages or online stores and see which one performs the best. If you’re not familiar, A/B testing means that instead of taking the most popular option (A), you try out the other (B). This allows you to conclude which one is superior and tailor your approach moving forward. For example, if you ran an A/B test for an online store where 50% of the traffic came from Facebook, and 20% from Google, you would know that Facebook users convert better than Google users. So you would alter the way you handled the sales process for Facebook users to see if that would boost your conversion rates.

Affiliate Marketing

In addition to advertising and subscriptions, National Interest Online also takes advantage of affiliate marketing. When someone clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase, the publisher earns a small commission. However, the majority of the income for this magazine comes from affiliate marketing with a few prominent product sponsorships thrown in. This income stream allows National Interest to cover its costs and have a small amount of leftover money each month.


Another way a magazine can make money is by offering consulting services to brands and businesses that want to be affiliated with a prestigious brand. National Interest Online has a team of lobbyists that it engages with regularly to push important legislation, a governmental affairs team that advises global corporations on regulatory matters, and an entire section on government contracts. To fund all of this, the magazine has to charge business and brands for the opportunity to have their products and services featured in its pages. Some of the consulting contracts can be quite lucrative, but it’s still a way for the magazine to stay afloat.

International Rights

Another area where a magazine can make money is through the sale of international rights. If you’ve ever seen the movie House of Gucci, you know that Gucci is a luxury goods brand known for its silk scarves, sunglasses, and perfume. The movie’s protagonist, Carole Gucci, is a lawyer who represents the Perugino family in a lawsuit against the Gucci company. During the course of the film, Carole negotiates the purchase of several items, including a handbag, a watch, and a perfume bottle. The Perugino family members wear these items throughout the film to display their status and success. These are considered international rights because they allow the brand to show up in print and on film wherever distribution is available. As a result of Carole Gucci’s efforts, the Perugino family members are seen wearing these items in films across the globe. This is a common and vital part of the revenue stream for this type of magazine. When a film is released overseas, the publisher will often buy the international rights and make money off the back of the film. For example, The Dressmaker, a film starring Anna Friel, became available for international audiences in October 2018. About a month later, on the day of its release, National Interest Online published a story about the film, and it received 110,000 page views.

These are the principal ways that National Interest Online Magazine makes money. Of course, it’s always beneficial to sell merchandise that’s branded with a famous name. If you’ve ever shopped at Nordstrom, you may have noticed that when you check out, there are many brands alongside the one you’re already familiar with. This is the result of salespeople earning a small commission when that item is purchased through an affiliate link or a signup on a sponsored program. This is also how most luxury brands earn money today. By encouraging people to buy products that are branded with their name, they gain a small commission when those products are sold.