Oh, the stories we tell ourselves.
Like the one about magazines being dead or the only way to survive in publishing is to move to an all-digital platform.
Nothing but new age silliness, if you read between the lines penned by The Media Guy — aka Simon Dumenco — in his recent AdAge article.
Ostensibly Dumenco writes about Ad Age’s annual A-List of magazine titles, of which he is part of the editorial team, and the reader expects a listing of this year’s hotties and how they managed to squeak out a living in this digitally obsessed environment.
What we get instead is a fascinating historical perspective on the past decade or so of print magazines. Dumenco puts industry performance into solid context against the post-911 economic slump and the killer recession of 2008-2009. And he keeps digital in clear perspective by pointing out that among the A-Listers this year are titles that are having their best print issues ever, like Elle’s mega September issue.
He doesn’t down-play digital’s impact on the industry; rather Dumenco points out that the publishers on the hot list are now multi-media brands, some even meg-brands, and actually showing growth at a time when, by all accounts, they should be skinnying down to a shadow of their former selves as digital eats their glossy lunch.
“What’s perhaps most remarkable is not so much the phoenix-from-the-ashes-of-2008/2009 narrative — because lots of business sectors have also bounced back from those dark days — but how enduring many of our A-List magazines are,” says Dumenco. “We tend to forget how ephemeral a lot of pure-play digital brands end up being, while overlooking the dynastic strength of iconic glossy brands.”
Dynastic strength: That’s a great term and so fitting for quality titles that have weathered the storm. Congrats to the A-Listers and all those publishers out there putting their hearts and their passions onto paper. It matters.