McKean’s ‘media neutral’ strategy positions this consumer mag with the most paid subscribers of any content site
By David Hirschman
When Consumer Reports’ parent organization, the Consumers Union, was founded in 1936, the U.S. was deep in the Depression and money-conscious citizens were looking for ways to steer clear of shoddily made and unsafe products. The organization promised scientific testing to separate the solid and well-built consumer goods from the rest. Today, the Yonkers, N.Y.-based organization is still at it, and its publications remain among the most read in the country. What’s more, because it is unable to accept advertising, ConsumerReports.com has the most paid subscribers of any content site on the Web: 3.2 million and counting.
At the helm of the company’s editorial arm is Kevin McKean, a longtime fan of consumer magazines with large audiences. With a small staff and more than 20 editorial products to oversee, he says the Consumer Reports brand has endured because it learned from its mistakes early on and adopted a “media neutral” stance. And, he says, you don’t need a lab coat to emulate his success.