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The Future of Magazines

Page history last edited by Charlotte Olivier 10 years, 2 months ago
  Magazine Group    
Magazine Industry Past   Magazine Industry Present   The Future of Magazines  



                                                                             [15]                                                                                                                 [16]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



The Magazine Industry's Future



Is a Digital Magazine Still a Magazine?





      Magazines are the most democratic form of mass media, because they have more freedom than other forms of mass media to encourage and participate in democratic debates. The migration from print to digital editions of magazine is currently taking over the outlook of the magazine industry. This is a process that will take years for the magazine industry to adjust to the growing impact of this emerging technology of reducing the print from the magazine product to create a more digital and fuller experience. The magazine industry is in the middle of a difficult and exciting transition for the future of this powerful mass medium. Currently magazines are both digital and physical. AARP is still an intensely popular magazine, keeping the industry alive in the physical realm. "AARP is based around people aged fifty and older though so in the next 25-30 years when the baby-boomer generation, which makes up the total subscribers for that magazine, pass on, the paper magazine industry will likely plummet and likely complete the magazine industry's transformation to digital." [6] 


     While the present business models and narrative experiments are encouraging and very much needed, the jury is still out on whether quality journalism, particularly the kind of expensive investigative reporting that made newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer famous, will be commercially viable in a future of even more fragmentation of channels and audiences and of even more commoditization of the news.


      The terms "print magazine" and "magazine" have become one in the same. There needs to be a distinction between them. Both describe a publication that is designed for a reader who will experience it. The integration of the term "screen magazine" needs to be used. Screen magazines are referring to those that are electronic. The current trend and what critics are predicting is "designed-for-print-but-ends-up-on-a-screen publications". At first this was being done for "archive purposes", but that is not the case anymore. [12] 





     The digital magazine has a high hope of keeping the industry alive. According to Jack Griffin of Time, “sixty percent of American consumers plan to purchase an e-reader; four out five e-reader consumers want to read magazines on those devices.” The industry has created 300 apps across the spectrum, said Griffin and added “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen such a burst in creativity.” [25]


     Will investigative reporting and expensive foreign coverage find a new home in these all-digital subcompact publications? Can these activities be supported by these new publishing models? They might be in some cases, but will those be enough for a thriving civic society?


     The democratization of amazing publishing avenues such as Newsstand is leading to increased competition and noise in the marketplace. Will what happened to blogs (extreme proliferation to the point of triviality) happen to subcompact publishing when almost anyone can start a publication and charge for content?


     In summary, is journalism a viable business in an era of extreme audience fragmentation and dilution of advertising dollars? Or will it have to be subsidized by governments and other institutions to be viable in this new digital world? And will journalism be less or more independent if it has to be backed by patrons in order to sustain itself? [5]



Will the Industry Survive? 




 “There are magazines that are a business model, and there are magazines that support a business model.” [12]


     "The question is not will it survive, but rather, are magazines still going to be considered "magazines?" By this question, the tendencies of post modern digital magazines in regards to reshaping the entire magazine industry is to incorporate a hands-on experience using this mass medium as a channel supporting video content, interactive graphics, and using tactics similar to web pages found across the internet. This leaves us with the question of whether magazines, with all the online technological advancement they've incorporated in to their structure will still be considered magazines or just simply, web pages. Steven Snell, editor of vandelaydesign.com claims creating a well-designed site that looks good, allows for good usability, and features a lot of content without cramming items onto the page is a very difficult task. Magazine companies often face the challenge of displaying a lot of content while still trying to look good." [2]


      "The layout of the magazine is popular when creating sites with a significant amount of content because it allows a collage and collaboration of various media content to function together as one product in an organized fashion."


     "It was clear to us that magazines had to reinvent themselves if they were to not only survive, but thrive. That meant thinking of print as just another platform, and to find other ways to deploy the unique COSMOS voice and character of storytelling across a range of platforms." [1] This quote by the editor and chief of Cosmo magazine helps to

reinforce my own opinion that magazines in digital form are still magazines, just more evolved. They're still store-houses of information with the same types of content displayed in print, just in a different, paper-saving platform.


     "Tablet magazines may not even make it at this point, however. 'The fundamental problem with tablet magazines is that magazine apps themselves are invisible in the large streams of information governing the web. Tablets still only account for a tiny share of magazine readership- about 3.3 percent of circulation. This tiny share of digital magazines is seen as a symptom of death of the digital magazine itself. Apple Newsstand is pointed to as a major obstacle in blocking digital magazines from real success so it's not only up in the air if the paper magazine will survive, it does, it turns out, actually come down to a matter of whether the magazine industry itself will make it in the future with all of the new technology to come." [18]


     "Steve Cohn, who has been observing magazines for over fifteen years predicts that the industry will have "'a Darwin-esque'survival of the fittest.The major brands will do fine, with more multimedia integration, particularly with TV and the Internet. It's a safe bet that in 2017, People will be the most profitable magazine, Time will have a Person of the Year and Good Housekeeping will be giving its stamp of approval. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine." [22]





Magazines Going Above and Beyond Digital 


      "There is no doubt the magazine industry is going digital. The economic and technologically appealing elements that make up this mass medium will take over the industry in about 25 years and with the change will come new challenges and innovations based off of the new shifting content models of the magazine industries. Magazines will incorporate more visual media content such as HD photographs, gif files, and even video content on their advanced digitally based format."


  "AARP, by far the most circulated magazine, with a combination of over 44 million copies, is increasing in sales and will probably stay there for a very long time. AARP magazine and the bulletin is target to retired consumers and live mostly through subscriptions, as shown in the link below. We believe that until the older generation dies, and the new one takes on, print will not die, especially for the AARP." "AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, dedicated to helping those 50+ turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities". [6] 



Could Print Make a Come-back? 




The Story:


     "College students, the people raised on the Internet, wirelessly connected 24/7. Wouldn't they prefer to consume content on one of their several devices? Not so, according to a poll released this summer by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. The poll found that 75 percent of young adults aged 16-29 years of age said they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 65 percent of adults 30 and older."


“Younger Americans’ reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, a research analyst at Pew Research.  "Americans under 30 are just as likely as older adults to visit the library and borrow print books," she said. Sure, they love their technology, but there’s something about the look and feel of the printed page that they find attractive." [7]


     "Instead of consuming more general information, people now prefer to consume content on a specific subject through their preferred media platform. This phenomenon has been evident for decades, appearing as long ago as 1971 with the demise of Look magazine and the introduction of a plethora of new specialized magazines. However, Carruthers predicts this trend of “narrow-casting” to  increase and eventually overtake the older more-general once-venerable publications, which will eventually drift into obscurity." [8]


      "While many print magazines are moving into digital, some digital are actually moving into print. Allrecepes.com is starting to move into print. Some may think it unwise for a digital media property to get into the print business, but print advertising in the food category was up 10.1% in the first quarter of the year, compared to an industry average of +0.9%." [9]


     "To add to this potential circumstance of paper magazines coming back, the magazine industry has hardly spent any time, effort or money to promote digital apps, so there is still a chance that paper will be the superior magazine form." [18]


     "However,there was a stark reminder of the sector’s existential crisis in 2012: Tina Brown, the renowned former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker who was brought in to save Newsweek in 2010, announced that the 80-year-old magazine would cease to exist as a print publication. Time is now the last of the mass-market general interest news weeklies to survive in print form. Some people may want print magazines to stay alive, but I have considerable doubt that it will outlast the next 30 years at the maximum." [19]



General Predictions for the Future of the Magazine Industry                                     [24]



  "The era of the weekly mass-market general news magazine business model has ended and the era of the less-than-monthly mass-market general business news magazine business model will extend longer into the future. Subscriptions are typically paid by the reader’s employer. The person or organization subscribing can deduct the associated costs as a business expense. A business magazine adds a power-statement to the coffee table of a corporate executive’s office. CEOs love seeing ads for their company printed on nice, glossy paper."


      "The future of print-based trade magazines is a mixed bag. Print magazines will continue to have less and less “news” – and more and more “context.”  University alumni magazines (and association magazines, major non-profits, and similar organizations) will continue for the foreseeable future. The company-published employee print magazine is endangered. Customer magazines (magazines published by companies for their customers) are going to be around a long time. Magazines that serve an audience niche that is intensely passionate about something will survive." [12]  







    " In the current gold rush to creating and disseminating content, major brands have an opportunity to become publishers, now that some traditional media outlets are on the wane and leaving gaps to be exploited. Here, the question of objectivity pops up again. But if brands are up front about the provenance of their content, offer accurate and valuable information, and tell engaging stories that capture the attention of their audiences, then their publishing efforts could end up significantly enriching our culture." [10]



The Future of Ad Revenue/Circulation in the Magazine Industry


The story:  


 5 Senses, Interacting with the media



     "Related to the issue of interactive, device-optimized content is creation of advertising optimized for the digital devices. Marketers will start paying a premium for digital magazine ads if they find it to be a lot more effective than traditional media. The effectiveness could be measured by the quality of engagement a specially created ad for the digital device evokes. However, while iPad ads now account for nearly 37% of magazine ad units, the general consensus is that the ad industry is perhaps short selling the value of an ad on the iPad. If the industry (print publishers and digital content creators) can collectively focus on maximizing the potential of digital devices as an advertising medium it can have a positive impact on advertisers too."  [18]


     "Domino is trying to build exactly what every magazine reader has dreamed about: a place where there are interesting articles and you can purchase anything you see that strikes your fancy.The hope is that an integrated site will be far more valuable than either a magazine or an online shop alone."


     It is clear from the P/E ratio for periodical publishing (11) as compared to ecommerce (230+)that investors see a lot more potential in commerce than in straight advertising plays. The 20x difference between the two industries shows that online commerce is significantly more scalable than selling advertising alone. Way fair just passed $1 billion in revenue and shows no signs of slowing; and Amazon’s P/E ratio is up above 600. It is no wonder that these investments are more attractive than companies in an industry where a 3% growth rate is viewed as a solid accomplishment. If domino shows success in the hybrid category, it could become much more valuable and serve as a template for other Conde Nast properties and publishing companies in general moving forward. [21] 



 The Future of Circulation in the Magazine Industry


     Circulation in the magazine industry will be largely based around many different technologies, fighting it out to be the new idea form of magazine, if magazines survive as a whole in general. Currently, Next Issue, the Apple newsstands and tablet magazines are the competitors. A last attempt at magazines retaining their current form while still conforming to technology would be the magazine shown in the video below. 





  Magazine Group    
Magazine Industry Past   Magazine Industry Present   The Future of Magazines  


Magazine Industry Works Cited  



Comments (4)

Zachary Larson said

at 11:49 am on Feb 3, 2014

Hey Johnny,

I took care of the links for the future page. They didn't take long so I just hammered them out.


Johnny McCallum said

at 8:53 pm on Feb 3, 2014

Cool man, thanks for that.

Charlotte Olivier said

at 2:46 pm on Mar 13, 2014

Got rid of goofy pictures.

Joseph Runge said

at 11:38 am on Apr 6, 2014

Table of Contence is working

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