Leave it to a crisis to not only illuminate but accelerate trends in any industry. Last year was the catalyst for the rapid adoption of trends in office space, home design, healthcare, education, travel, events and, yes, the magazine industry.
Rapid response to emergent realities are a profound catalyst for any industry, and publishing is no exception. According to this article in What’s New In Publishing, a new market report from the UK shows a shift away from broader “gap filler” appeal to a tighter focus on niche and passion-based verticals.
Looking at the data, the overall number of magazine brands shrunk by 16% YOY, and the size of new launches dropped to around 8,400 copies each with higher cover prices. The print run and higher cover price are in line with the pre-pandemic trends we’ve been following for a few years now.
While there’s no sugar-coating the fact that the magazine industry took a hit, Tim Bilton, managing director of report publishers Wessenden Marketing, is not forecasting doom.
“Given the horrendous trading conditions, to see 113 new products come on to the newsstands shows that the magazine business is still very much alive,” he says. “The real creativity in magazines is currently coming from the smaller, ‘passion publishers’ as the big multinationals downsize and reshape their operations.”
The hotspots last year included children’s magazines, according to the article, with “…puzzles, gardening, cookery, health & fitness, and mindfulness being particularly popular categories for launches and brand extensions.”
So let’s put the year into perspective; any time of widespread cultural crisis elevates the pace of change. Fortunately, the magazine industry was already cognizant of the changes in their readers’ habits, and the niche title boom reflects this.
As the market wraps itself into tighter vertical niches, publishers know exactly what to do to adapt.