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TIME Tops L2 Digital IQ Index® for Magazine Industry

First-Of-Its-Kind Study Ranks 87 Magazine Brands’ Digital Competence

We believe that the Digital IQ is a proxy for a brand’s ability to survive and prosper.

NEW YORK--New research demonstrates a clear relationship between a magazine brand’s digital aptitude and its advertising revenue per-page, according to the most recent Digital IQ Index® published today by L2 in conjunction with NYU Stern.

The ranking, developed by NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway and a team of experts from L2, measures the digital footprint of 87 magazine brands, assessing more than 350 data points across four dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile. Each brand is assigned a Digital IQ and a corresponding class of Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged, or Feeble. While 37 percent of the brands in the Index were classified as Gifted, only TIME earned the Genius distinction.

“Technology did not get the memo regarding traditional media’s business model around aggregating eyeballs,” says Index author Scott Galloway. “Even with total advertising revenue down 20 percent from its pre-crisis peak, the business model online for the magazine industry remains opaque.”

To download the complete rankings and key findings, go to:

Top Ten:

  1. TIME
  3. SELF
  4. MEN’S HEALTH (tied)
  7. GQ

Key findings of this Digital IQ Index® include:

  • Digital IQ is positively correlated with a brand’s advertising revenue per-page, one of the best proxies for a book’s perceived influence, relevance, and impact on readers.
  • Publications associated with large portfolio companies (e.g., Condé Nast) score better in aggregate, suggesting economies of scale translate to the digital realm.
  • Brands with high circulation do not consistently produce large online communities. In this industry, social media prowess is the result of active effort, not a function of past success in traditional media.
  • For most magazine brands, mobile strategy has become synonymous with iPhone/iPad strategy. Only 13 percent of the brands in the Index apply resources towards ALL of the following platforms: mobile-optimized site, iOS device, tablet edition, Android device, and eReader device.
“Any product that can be distilled to zeros and ones will have digital at the center of its future,” adds Galloway. “We believe that the Digital IQ is a proxy for a brand’s ability to survive and prosper.”

About L2

L2 is a think tank for digital innovation. L2 helps brands navigate the changing digital landscape through events, research, and advisory services. The capstone research offering, the Digital IQ Index®, was created and developed by NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway, and measures and ranks a firm’s digital competence across four dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile. L2 has measured the Digital IQ of global brands across prestige, beauty, automobile, pharmaceutical, and retail, among others.

About New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business

New York University Stern School of Business, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, is one of the nation’s premier management education schools and research centers. NYU Stern offers a broad portfolio of academic programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels, all of them informed and enriched by the dynamism, energy, and deep resources of the world’s business capital.


NYU Stern
Anna Christensen, 212-998-0561
Scott Galloway, 917-567-2841