The last few months of 2016 saw some major magazine publishers like Condé Nast, Meredith and Rodale, announcing the end of regular print runs and a shift to digital only editions for some well known magazine titles.
This trend of shifting to digital only is especially prevalent among magazines that target a Millennial audience. For example, just in the last few months, we’ve seen the demise of the print version of Teen Vogue and a rebirth of More magazine as online-only and with a Millennial focus.
This is exciting news! We all know publishing has had its challenges with moving to digital, the biggest of which is the search for a sustainable revenue model.
We see this new spate of announcements as a huge opportunity for innovation. There are three big reasons why:
- Big names have the resources to pour into trying new things. Presuming big publishers are seeing some cost savings by ending their print runs, there’s an opportunity for them to reinvest in digital and take some risks to see what’s successful in the digital realm.
- Millennials can act as the testing ground for other demographics. Let’s face it, when it comes to technology, the younger generations so often lead the way. If publishers can find a formula that works for Millennials, it’s just a matter of time before their parents catch the wave and start consuming their magazine content digitally.
- New virtual newsstands will emerge. If there are more and more titles going online, the issue of how readers will find magazine titles has a much better chance of working itself out: demand will create the solution. And once there’s a virtual marketplace, readers will be browsing digital titles in greater numbers, thereby adding fuel to the shift to digital.
We’ll be watching carefully over the next twelve to eighteen months to see what innovations can capture a digital audience. (We think curating time could end up being big.)
Here’s to finding a sustainable way forward for digital magazines in the year to come.
Happy New Year!