Industry reflection: Is the printed magazine industry dead?

Since the introduction of digital media in the magazine industry, many have predicted the death of print. Now in 2017 there is a big debate going around on whether or not the industry is dead.
Latest ABC figures revealed that only 60 out of 442 UK magazines increased sales in 2015. Unfortunately this comes as no shock as the Press Gazette previously reported that “the UK’s 503 magazines audited by ABC lost print sales at an average rate of 6.3 per cent year on year in the second half 2013” (1) .
One of the best performers in 2015 was women’s monthly magazine Cosmopolitan, which has grown in its circulation by 57 per cent – “putting the brakes on a period of rapid decline”(2).

According to the Press Gazette “around half of the increase was due to more free pick-up copies. Cosmopolitan was also helped by a big reduction in cover price, from £3.80 to £1, and increased promotional activity including use of ‘pop-up’ distribution points”(3).

And not only has Cosmopolitan changed to stick around but in fact, many of the magazines in the industry have changed to sustain audiences.

Joely Carey argues that the magazine market isn’t dead. However it is “different”(4), because of these changes in the way in which magazines circulate and their prices.

However, while many magazines are having to change to stop themselves from declining, there are still magazines out there such as Glamour who have stayed the same and still out-sell others.

Publishing director of Glamour Jamie Jouning told the Press Gazette: “Glamour is pleased to retain its position as the best-selling title in the market by 8%, despite being twice the price.”(5).

As well as Glamour managing to sustain audiences, there are many other magazines out there whose sales haven’t declined – particularly niche magazines. Niche magazines will still be around no matter what because there will always be a market for magazines about people’s hobbies, such as cooking and knitting.

In conclusion, printed magazines are not dead yet but their circulation is rapidly falling and the industry is changing. In years to come there may be very few magazines left other than those who are niche.

(1) http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/uk-magazines-lose-print-sales-average-63-cent-full-abc-breakdown-all-503-titles

(2) http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/full-2015-mag-abcs-breakdown-cosmopolitan-bucks-trend-uk-magazines-decline-average-4-cent/

(3) http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/mag-abcs-price-cut-and-give-away-copies-help-cosmopolitan-lead-growth-womens-fashion-and-lifestyle/

(4) https://www.journalism.co.uk/news-commentary/the-magazine-market-isn-t-dead-it-s-different/s6/a698229/

(5) http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/mag-abcs-price-cut-and-give-away-copies-help-cosmopolitan-lead-growth-womens-fashion-and-lifestyle/

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