Magazine Industry: Trends and Challenges

printvsdigitalHere is a little research for ya! I am personally NOT a data person, but I found this topic to be very interesting. I still hear people say “print is going to die”, and I have also heard, “with the technological advances, who needs print publications anymore?” I’ve always believed that a printed product serves as that tangible “friend” that you just can’t get from a digital form.

First Research analyzed 32 different data sources, representing 4.5 million privately held businesses and detailed magazine industry financial benchmarks.

Top Results Included:

  • The US magazine industry is concentrated with 50 companies accounting for 60% of total revenue.
  • Profitability relies heavily on “marketing expertise”.
  • General Interest magazines make up 65 % of revenue.
  • Most companies have outsourced printing due to lower expenses.
  • Digital subscriptions have grown 560% since 2011.
  • Consumer magazine market expected to shrink up to 2017 internationally.
  • Total US consumer spending increased 1.6%, which drives magazine sales.
  • Total US revenue for periodical publishers increased 1.8% (includes magazine industry).
  • ­­Magazines aren’t a “growth industry” but they will remain relevant.

Industry Trends:

  • Magazine companies are revamping their websites to optimize for mobile devices and social aspects and include more multimedia content.
  • Websites are being updated regularly to remain as up-to-date as possible
  • More magazine publishers might need to allocate more resources to a website redesign specific for mobile and social media users.
  • Multimedia companies are growing
  • Changes in the distribution system
  • Digital editions of magazines as downloadable files rather than websites

They found that the top industry drivers were energy prices, Technology innovation and government regulation.

The identified industry challenges were that publications were dependent on advertising sales for revenue, there has been a decrease in paid circulation sales in the past decade, there is little room to negotiate price due to the consolidation of distributors, retailers, ad agencies and suppliers, theres a huge competition with free Internet sources, and the postal rates are steadily increasing.

All of this research to conclude that the magazine industry is managing to remain relevant and purposeful through the technological challenges and advances in society by finding new distribution channels and better predicting the direction that it must go in the digital world. The industry continues to face multiple challenges, but is skillfully shifting towards the production of digital publications and finding new ways to better integrate within social media, while still sustaining a large part of their print publication sales.

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