Perception Vs. Reality: Print’s Power in a Digital Age
Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni offered statistics and arguments demonstrating the ongoing relevance of print magazines, as well as the futility (at least to date) of trying to turn a print-plus-digital magazine brand into an economically viable digital-only entity.
While estimates of the total number of magazines currently sold at retail in the U.S. vary depending on how one defines a magazine, MagNet puts the number at approximately 10,000, noted Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi.
Husni, who tracks print magazine launches on an ongoing basis, found and purchased 870 new magazine titles in retail stores last year alone, 237 of which launched with regular frequencies (published quarterly or more often). “I’m seeing no signs of a slowdown,” he reported. Further, the numbers of magazines being folded are considerably smaller than the numbers being launched.
Those who point to Newsweek or other instances of high-profile print magazines being converted to an all-digital model, or folded, as evidence that the print magazine medium as a whole is on its last legs are ignoring the current and historical context, Husni argues.
“If one magazine dies, it’s not the end of the industry,” he said. “Do I need to tell you how many TV shows have come and gone over the years? Yet nobody said that television was dead.”
While the industry is rightfully focused on addressing magazine retail sales declines through innovation and collaboration with retailers and other supply-chain partners, the larger context is that discretionary products of all kinds experience sales declines when the economy forces many consumers to forgo non-essential purchases as they struggle to meet basic living needs, he said.
Moreover, overall print magazine circulation is stable to slightly up, and both print and digital magazine readership is increasing–while other traditional media are experiencing overall declines in audience or circulation, he added.
Meanwhile, for all of their growth, magazine apps are up against formidable odds, Husni said. As of January 2013, publishing consultant Thea Selby reported that there were 446 magazine apps available through the Nexus Google Play store, 744 in the Amazon Kindle store, and 2,954 in the Apple iTunes store. But those apps are competing for visibility, discovery and consumer dollars and time with at least 850,000 total apps of all kinds in the marketplace, he said.
Read the complete article here: http://mrmagazine.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/audience-first-and-other-essentials-for-magazines-and-magazine-media-survival-in-a-digital-age/ for additional information on –
The Age of ‘Transcended Infinite Media’
The Futility of Converting Print Brands to Digital-Only