Print Magazines Tackle New Challenges, And Some of Them Win

When was the last time you stopped at a newsstand to pick up a new magazine? What about the last time you received a magazine subscription in the mail? For me personally, it’s been awhile.


It’s not like nobody is buying magazines anymore. Big brands like Better Homes and Gardens, owned by Meredith Corporation, have almost eight million readers a month. (And they’ve been at it for over fifty years!) But we have been seeing a lot more headlines about magazines downsizing and cutting their print runs. One of the most recent casualties is Teen Vogue, a popular fashion magazine for teenage girls. The Condé Nast publication cut its print run from twelve to four a year.


Teen magazines in particular have been feeling the heat, which makes sense. Their primary target audience, teenagers, have been largely swept up by the digital revolution. Instead of reading magazines for pictures of their fave teenage heartthrobs and tips on the latest fashion trends, they’re hitting up their phones and turning to social media for their answers.


In response, teen-focused magazines are focusing on their digital content instead. And it’s working. Experts say that despite cuts to print, the brands are thriving in the digital world, drawing teens worldwide to their websites.


So don’t despair — at least not yet. Magazines seem to be slowly figuring it out. Niche brands with specific audiences are in an even better place, because their print copies are more likely to stay in circulation. The magazines they print might even go on to become  a sort of collectible item among dedicated fans.


Other magazines are trying out varying strategies to keep themselves afloat, like raising newsstand prices. Now, this one may not be too exciting for consumers, but when you get down to it, the price increases really don’t seem that drastic. Average prices have only gone up by about 27 cents, from $5.28 up to $5.55. And when you’re selling millions of copies, that extra 27 cents on each purchase can add up.


The print magazine industry might not exactly be the most lucrative business out there, but don’t count it out just yet. Teen magazines with successful digital components are already giving others some good examples to look up to. Magazine media certainly has some growing pains to work through, but with the right strategies, many of them can make it through this.


The fact is, just like with books, people still love their print copies. We like to hold our media in our hands and turn the pages ourselves, not with the swipe of a finger on a screen.