Scrolling through my Twitter feed this afternoon there was some pretty big news if you work in social media/ journalism and digital- or indeed if you’re a fan of magazines and print media:
Glamour, one of the UK’s leading women’s magazines has announced that they will be rebooting their brand with a ‘digital first’ strategy- only publishing hard copies of the magazine twice a year.
Personally, I’m not a big reader of Glamour but it got me thinking- has there been such a significant change in the way that we’re consuming our media that a brand based on print-media would overhaul its entire ethos?
I LOVE magazines- having done work experience at Women’s Health and following a solid diet of Company, Cosmo, Bliss, Sugar and Empire since I was 13. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than the thick glossy pages and layout of a magazine.
Features are illustrated, there’s a comfort to holding and reading them on your commute and I’m mildly in mourning that this is an industry that the older I get, the more it fades away.
But.. has the demand for magazines just begun to disappear?
In my attempt to try and make this a balanced piece of writing I conducted a (very scientific) twitter poll – which suggested that despite many platforms turning their sole focus to digital, there are still consumers who enjoy print media.
Bizarrely an overwhelming majority voted YES?
I’m not sure if that’s because the kind of people that I engage with on Twitter are them media-types who probably consume a lot more print media than your average Joe- but the reasons they gave were pretty interesting!
The main reasons people like to turn away from their screen seemed to be primarily that it hurt their eyes and it was sometimes nice to take a pause from a constant flow of digital information.
But, there was no mention from anyone of the fact that they could actually get most of what they wanted from their phone.
In a world of online content it can be hard to make a dent, so perhaps this is what’s behind Glamour’s pages stopping their print.
In a statement, a spokeswoman told the BBC the “mobile-first, social-first” move with a focus on beauty was based on how readers are “living their life today”.
Readers of Women’s magazines, in particular, live busy lives. Perhaps the effort of buying a physical copy and reading and carrying it around is outdated nowadays. With people on their commute staring into their phones and reading articles on there- maybe I’m outdated?
It seems to me that on a global scale print media isn’t dying, but it is evolving. According to Forbes, “the largest circulation English-language paper is not from the UK or the U.S. Instead it is The Times of India.”
But for magazines in the UK, US and Western world- the future is digital.
For me, I do read and digest a lot of my media online. Twitter, news pages and online journalism is the very core of the job that I do and how I consume what’s going on in the world around me… but it things like Conde Nast’s announcement that makes me sad.
The magazine industry is definitely not dead, but it’s different now. What they began as in essence is completely changed.
I guess there will probably always be things printed, but with technology making it that much easier to just read it through our screens- it’s got me wondering how long it will last.
I’ll be interested personally to see the developments of this. Whether it means a growth in followers on their online platforms and increased readership?…
What are your thoughts?