What the Interview Relaunch Tells Us about High-end Magazines

Still wondering about the future of magazine media? Here’s more evidence that the narrative about print magazines is changing:  Just in the past week or so we’ve posted about magazine readership being up down under, and the industry saying “enough” to the mean girls attitude toward magazine media.  We see evidence in the UK that print ad revenues are moving up, and more evidence of publishers find new models toward profitability.

And now this:

“Four months ago, Interview magazine was closed down, consigned to the dumpster of pop culture memorabilia and detritus,” writes Edward Helmore in The Guardian. “Now Brant Publications has reversed that decision and is set to embark on a contentious restoration of the title with a September issue fronted by the transgender model Hari Nef.”

It’s more relaunch than turnaround, as Helmore notes, and exemplifies the idea that magazines are going more high-end.

“In the magazine sector as a whole there has been enormous over-supply problem, and why we’ve seen such a car crash in the middle market where advertising has practically collapsed,” Douglas McCabe, an analyst at media research firm Enders, told Helmore.

“But high-end magazines with a commitment to high-end editorial values, well-heeled demographics and a high-end supply of advertising have been living in a much less volatile market,” McCabe continues.

While the magazine sector at large is often accused of being bloated, high-end advertisers are turning back to print to engage with those upscale customers. In fact, they are spending more on print ads than digital, according to the latest stats from Zenith.

“I suspect that the big luxury and fashion brands will realise over the next two or three years that high-end magazines are actually very important to them,” McCabe considers. (Many of them already get that.) And it keeps coming back to trust – that all-important element that brands search for, and magazines help them achieve.

It’s just more proof that time spent on a channel doesn’t equate with ROI or effectiveness. Even if your customers are spending tons of time on their smartphones, the time to engage them is when they pick up that magazine.