2014 Was a Hot Year for New Print Titles

[responsive]Magazines on a stand in a newsagents[/responsive]Let’s just say it. Magazines had a booming good year in 2014 in terms of new titles in the marketplace, says Keith J. Kelly in The New York Post.

Kelly cites stats from Samir Husni (aka Mr. Magazine) of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, who counted 234 new print launches last year, up a solid 21% from 2013. Those numbers don’t include one-time annuals and special edition book-a-zines, which added an additional 621 titles. (That one-off trend seems to be cooling, Kelly notes, down by 32 titles from 2013.)

Among the notable entries into the marketplace this year, according to Husni, was Dr. Oz The Good Life.

“The joint venture between Hearst and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the heart surgeon/talk show host, plans to up the rate base to 800,000 next year from its launch rate base of 450,000,” Kelly continues.

Aside from brand new titles – particularly in niche and special-interest categories — Husni saw another trend worth noting: the decision by digital companies to launch traditional print magazines, something we’ve been covering quite a bit in this blog.

“The trend follows companies like Politico, DuJour and All Recipes, digital products all, that launched print titles in 2013,” Kelly writes.

“Net-a-Porter launched Porter magazine with a February/March issue, while the booming apartment rental site, Airbnb, launched its own magazine, called Pineapple, [last] month,” he continues.

Husni goes so far as to make a bold prediction. “I know we live in a digital age, but print is still a powerful medium,” he said. “I think any digital company that is worth anything will be doing print magazines in the next two to three years.”

As Kelly explains, “One other reason for print’s staying power, according to publishers, is that there has been relentless downward pressure on the standard banner ads on the digital side, making the relatively stable print ad page prices more attractive.”

While digital magazines face some serious challenges in the coming year, the numbers on print launches are encouraging. New technology makes smaller print runs and highly targeted marketing feasible, so a title doesn’t have to have the massive influence of a huge publisher to make a go of it. In fact, the big names in publishing like Time Inc. and Conde Nast are backing away from mega launches, leaving the field open for smaller, more nimble and niche-driven titles.

All in all, we are highly optimistic about 2015. It’s a great time to be in this business, and we wish your business much success in the New Year.