The More Things Change…Print Stays The Course

[responsive]themorethingschange[/responsive]Folio’s recent survey of consumer publishing executives uncovered some pretty interesting truths. First among them: The mantra that digital will soon be eating print’s lunch is more than a bit overstated.

“That digital-is-catching-up-to-print narrative is overblown though, or at least premature, according to more than 230 respondents to FOLIO:’s 2014 consumer magazine CEO survey, writes Folio:’s Michael Rondon . “From a pure revenue perspective, the shifts are almost imperceptible.”

“It’s not a shocker that print ad revenue has fallen while the pile of dimes from digital advertising has been growing,” Rondon explains. The two pieces have to put into proper perspective. To begin with, he states that the gap in revenue between print and digital remains huge, that “digital ads brought in just a quarter of [print’s revenue] at 11.3 percent–not far off from where they’d been over the last 5 years. And neither are expected to budge more than 2 percentage points in 2014.”

Overall, it appears that the industry’s executive leadership have “consistently overestimated digital earnings and underestimated how much they’d still rely on print. The gap between expectation and reality has been as high as 5.6 percent.”

The takeaway, Rondon writes, is clear. “The print-to-digital transition is happening, but not as fast as people think.”

Meanwhile, consumer magazines showed higher profits than they have in the past five years, with only nine percent ending in the red (down from 18% in 2012)  and profit margins up.

Print continues to fuel the magazine industry, and these self-reported facts in the Folio: survey affirms how consumers feel about print magazines.