Is the printed magazine industry dead?

To say that the magazine industry is dead would be a sweeping misstatement. However, it would be accurate to say that it is most definitely in decline. The Internet has changed the landscape of traditional magazine publishing. Many well-known magazines such as Newsweek and  Instyle  have ceased to produce their print editions. However, in certain areas such as independent, specialist or ‘niche’ markets the magazine publishing industry is flourishing.

Certain areas of the declining magazine industry, such as men’s magazines, reflect the way young people are now consuming magazines digitally. This has also been seen in music magazines as information is so freely available on the net.(Spin magazine went digital in December 2012.) TV magazine sales have fallen due to the availability of tv guides on our televisions or free supplements with newspapers. Paid for UK magazines audited by ABC lost sales at an average rate of 5.9 per cent year on year in 2016. Condé Nast saw their biggest circulation falls in 2016 reporting its titles down 8.9% year on year.

Women’s lifestyle magazines have taken a big hit  with Healthy, Look and Women’s Fitness sales dropping by at least a fifth. Sales of Marie Claire, Grazia and Health & Fitness magazines all fell by at least 10 per cent.

This table indicates the fall in sales of the top 10 magazines in the UK and Ireland according to the latest ABC statistics as of February 2017:

However,  it  is not all doom and gloom , the specialist and independent market is flourishing. Niche magazines are targeting specific audiences instead of trying to cater for as many people as possible.  Another growing sector is children’s magazines; pre-teen titles have increased their combined circulation by 12.4 per cent. Whilst sales of Private Eye reached 105,077 in 2016, an increase of 16.6%

The main reason why print magazine is declining is due to rapidly growing advanced technology; bringing news on everything at the touch of your hand. Nowadays readers  expect information 24-7  which paperless, digital news delivers. Also, production costs of print magazines are expensive. But what about those of us  who look forward to reading paper copies of our favorite magazines on long train rides, or whilst sitting in waiting rooms? Magazines are still captivating and enlightening. There’s something about the physical experience of the feel and smell of a glossy magazine that glass screens just can’t beat. Print magazines may be declining but they are far from dead.



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