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National Geographic publications change from nonprofit status

  • Published on September 12, 2015
National Geographic publications change from nonprofit status

The National Geographic Magazine, one of the longest-running publications as well as the most prominent nonprofit monthly magazine, is giving up its non-profit status. The magazine has operated as a part of the non-profit National Geographic Society since being founded in 1888.

The society itself will remain a non-profit organization focused on science and education. The publication interests of National Geographic will be operated independently by a newly formed group known as National Geographic Partners, while the scientific and educational interests will continue to operate under the National Geographic Society. This announcement comes as more magazines, who were originally some of Adobe InDesign’s biggest users, continue to adapt to a decreasing number of print subscribers who are instead seeking to view content online or in video.

The National Geographic Partners organization will operate the sales of magazines, books, and maps, along with a catalog, travel agency, and the television station National Geographic Channel which reaches 86 million homes in the U.S. and is also distributed in more than 170 countries around the globe. Many of these media outlets are staffed by professionals who have taken InDesign classes at American Graphics Institute, as InDesign is uses for publishing magazines, books, and other publications.

The majority of the new organization will be owned by 21st Century Fox who will have 73 percent while the remaining 27 percent will be held by the non-profit National Geographic Society. Despite the disparity in ownership, both Fox and the National Geographic Society will hold an equal number of seats on the board of directors, controlling the direction of the newly formed entity. In exchange for the 73 percent interest in the new entity, Fox is providing the National Geographic Society with $725 million. This payment places the endowment of the National Geographic Society at more than $1 Billion, providing the non-profit with a substantial set of funds to pursue their educational initiatives.

The new publishing organization will be run by Declan Moore who is currently the Chief Media Officer at the National Geographic Society. The magazine itself reaches 3.5 million subscribers each month in the United States, and it also reaches readers across approximately 40 different langue editions that are published internationally.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.