The Future’s Bright, but Not Always Digital

Magazine Circulation

If you’re planning on picking up a copy of Company after this month, we’re afraid that won’t be possible. The monthly magazine has stopped printing after 36 years and has gone online-only. After our initial surprise abated, the mag fans in the office had to be honest and admit we were now much more likely to get our lifestyle fix online.

The news of the title’s demise came just one day before the latest ABC magazine circulation figures were published. A seemingly sad repetition of Bauer Media’s suspension of More! magazine last year after poor sales, we were curious to see how the wider consumer lifestyle magazine market was performing.

Company’s print circulation was down more than 30% year-on-year, not including 2,000 digital editions. The overarching and ongoing conclusion was that magazines continue to suffer, but some iconic mags are still flying the print flag flying high. Cosmopolitan, Ideal Home and Vanity Fair all showed strong sales.

Cosmopolitan’s strength appears to be in its content – steadfastly dealing with topics relevant to all women, from careers and self-improvement, to fashion and celebrities, relationships, sex and beauty. So popular is the magazine, it has 64 international editions, printed in 35 languages and circulated in more than 110 countries.

The best-selling homes-magazine in the UK, Ideal Home knows when to move with the times. Now 94 years in circulation, the glossy continues to capitalise on the nation’s fascination with home improvement.  Inviting a turnover of new readers each month, the magazine gives great focus to specific sections and standout DIY project areas.

George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Will Smith and supermodels that “won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000”. Vanity Fair only deals with the Hollywood A-list. A magazine of popular culture, fashion and current affairs, readers are taken on a fashionable journey of luxury and bright lights, and get to see how the other half live. Escapism at its best.

Capitalising on the strength of their brand, moving with the times and staying true to readers’ interests are all core themes in the success of the print stalwarts.

We often hear the millennial generation now only consume news with the simple click of a mouse instead of in the ‘traditional’ black and white, but it was good to see an article – online, ironically – on The Huffington Post diffusing that notion. It’s true to say we’re well-versed on digital outlets like Buzzfeed and social media, but we’re reading traditional news outlets too.

So how have print magazines stuck around for such a long time? The Guardian’s Mark Hooper attributes it to the internet. We had to scratch our heads on that idea for a moment too. Then one word stood out – permanence. Even the big hitters like ASOS and net-a-porter have print versions too.

It is true that news can be accessed with the mere click of a button, but for some, there’s no escapism like that 30 minutes tucked away with a new mag and the feeling of pages between your fingers.

Yes, we’re in a digital world full of tablets, laptops and smartphones, and a digital world may be on the horizon, but the print pages aren’t finished turning just yet…