There is nothing I love more than sitting with a thick glossy magazine and a cup of coffee reading about the latest trends and beauty products and delving into the lengthy feature articles.
But this seems to be quickly becoming a thing of the past as magazine sales continue to drop and many publications turn into online only. Last year it was announced that there was a further decline in the circulation numbers of women’s fashion and lifestyle magazines. Just a few weeks ago the once renowned NME chose to no longer create a print edition, and at the end of last year Glamour magazine announced that it would only create a print magazine twice per year.
The new look Glamour magazine launched on the 1st of March and focuses mostly on beauty. Glamour was one of my favourite magazines and I bought it every month without fail. I’m sad that it’s no longer going to be available and although I quite like the new thicker edition I’m still disappointed that it’s not going to be around every month. Like most magazines Glamour makes most of its profit from advertising but with the growth of online advertising many brands are now changing the way that they advertise to us, with many creating more of their own ads or using bloggers and influencers to do so.
But is becoming online only or having a digital first strategy going to ensure these (and other) magazines survival?
Some seem to think that creating a digital first strategy is the way to ensure that a magazine survives however I’m not so sure.
Let’s take Company for instance. Although I did find a lot of the articles and places mentioned to be London-centic I still loved the street-style fashion section they had and of course, Jameela Jamil’s column. After being online for a while it stopped online publication, although the site does still exist. I feel that the online world is so saturated with websites that magazines have to make themselves stand out.
I find that when magazines create content for online, most have click-baity headlines (obviously to encourage us to click the link) and have simple list type articles. What I wonder is what will happen to all the in-depth longer feature articles? According to research the vast majority of people don’t read any articles much longer than 500 words when published online and I have to admit that I tend to fall into this category unless I find it incredibly interesting.
I feel that with the rise of bloggers and influencers we’re becoming less likely to reach for a fashion magazine which shows a whole range of luxury items that many of us can’t afford. Instead we’ll watch a YouTube video or visit our favourite fashion blogger’s site to find out about the latest trends and different ways to style them. I think we find bloggers much more relatable because you can get a sense of their personality, they can add in little snippets from their life and many write (or talk in their videos) in a way where you feel like they are chatting to you.
In contrast larger magazines are heavily edited and are constricted by guidelines, rules and regulations. This can make it difficult for magazines to write in way that resonates with the reader. As most of the profits come from advertising rather than sales it’s crucial for magazines to ensure that they don’t do anything which could cause brands to pull advertising meaning many mainstream magazines shy away from content which could be viewed as controversial.
I think magazines need to adapt to the changing landscape and to reader’s demand in order to survive. I believe that magazines will always exist in some form; it’s just what form will they take in the future?
Do you still buy magazines? What are your thoughts on magazines going digital?
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