Are Print Magazines In Danger?

Much as I love reading print magazines, fanning the colorful pages and scanning the eye-catching fashion spreads – I believe print magazines are in trouble when it comes to the status quo. When you have online publications that are able to create content at a drop of a hat and witnessing readerships that increase daily–this spells trouble for print publications.

In the article, “Magazine Publishers Discuss Future at 360 Conference,” WWD recently reported on this trend of print magazines declining and the consensus from industry leaders on the future of these periodicals. Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi of Condé Nast’s W magazine stated, “Really the elephant in the room is, we are all afraid of what will happen with magazines next.”

Print publishing isn’t the first industry to be threatened with future advancements squeezing out the old for the new. When the motorized vehicle was introduced and television was invented, surely those who bred horses and produced radio thought they would always be the leader in transportation and communication, respectively. But there came a time when they had to realize they were no longer the leader in their industries and concede, albeit not fully, to the victor. This day will come for print and it’s coming most likely sooner, than later.

The overhead for print magazines versus online publications is a stark contrast. Looking at a websites such as Refinery29 and Buzzfeed, who are growing at a rapid pace, one has to wonder if this is the wave of the future. Why, because online publications such as these garner millions of readers per month with the potential to grow astronomically on a daily basis. They are a new breed. Condé Nast and Hearst, as much as I love and have been inspired by some of their print publications, are functioning on an old business model and are not – or unable – to revamp themselves quickly enough to remain the leader, or trendsetter, in the industry.

Most print publications also have online portals, but often they merely duplicate what is in the print version. So, what’s the point you ask? Maybe the point is that they’re trying to have as many touch points as possible. We’ve seen how major publishers have embraced blogging phenoms into their fold, notably Condé Nast with, featuring famed bloggers such as Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoesand Bryan Grey Yambao of Bryan Boy.

There’s many angles that can be analyzed when it comes to the print vs. online debate. But bottom line, it’s all about growth. Online publications are blossoming while print publications are dwindling. What are your thoughts, do you think print magazines are in trouble?

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