You Can Never Be Too Thin, Except…

In the publishing industry a magazine’s weight and thickness is a strong indicator of their ad revenue.  We’ve all sadly watched as some of our favorite print magazines get thinner and thinner, and maybe even disappear because of the lack of ad revenues, smaller circulation levels (e.g. Newsweek) and/or the failure to transition well to digital.

The Association of Magazine Media shows that actual magazine ad pages have dropped back to levels found in 1992.  To simply survive, magazines must consider jumping from print to some level of online presence.  It’s also noted that digital magazine formats extend the reach of printed versions and that can benefit the whole industry.  However, this positive point may not save publishing.

The bulk of consumer magazines are primarily driven by their ad revenue (other than circulation/subscription dollars) and the transitioning of their print ad money to web ad revenue is one of the biggest issues facing the large-circulation magazines today.

There are very few magazine publishers that can survive the loss of print ad income if they discontinued their printed versions.  However, there are digital magazines creating ad sales from web-only publishing, but higher revenue is still generated from the combination of both print and web.

Meanwhile, much of the value consumer magazines offer is moving to a variety of other web media, including blogs, forums and image based/special interest sites such as Pinterest.

Print magazines are clearly struggling and for many, the long-term prognosis looks grim unless they have already taken steps toward surviving online.  It will be interesting to see who survives the fallout long-term.  Will more consumer magazines or B2B survive?  What’s your opinion?



9 thoughts on “You Can Never Be Too Thin, Except…

  1. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
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  2. I had the same thought, I love looking at a magazine. Even the ads are more interesting I feel. There is something about online that takes away from the full engagement process.I have a kindle but I still gravitate towards books and print media. I can’t quite say what the hold up is on my part; why I can’t quite make the switch.

    • Halen,
      Thanks for your reply. For me the best parts are great and clever advertising! There is nothing better than a great ad that appropriately sells the brand. Could the “hold up” be a generational thing?

  3. I love being able to sit down and look at a magazine, read the articles and analyze all the ads that are in them. But you are right, the size of magazines have dwindled significantly and “being too thin” can be a bad thing for publishers. I think local magazines and newspapers will survive the longest and be a “niche” market, but I’m sure eventually they will go to the wayside as well. Wonder what will replace the magazine racks at the checkout counter of the grocery stores?

    • Cheryl, I think you’re right…the local stuff may remain around the longest. At the checkout (if we even have those by then) we may end up with more TV’s and a lot more gum. :^b

  4. There is something that just cannot be matched by a Kindle and the like: like curling up with a good magazine or book in your favorite chair or outside soaking up sun. It’s different somehow. But soon, this is all generations will have known. I suppose we are saving trees and helping the environment, right?

    • Vickie,
      Yes…the soft chair and a good book…there is nothing better! I also prefer the feel of a leather or paper bound book vs the hard plastic of e-book technology. At the rate we are cyborging, the following generations may only know the feel of the latter. We’ll have lots of shade though! ko

  5. Just like newspapers, magazines may not be around forever. I really enjoy my nook and iPad but there is something about reading a magazine that I will always love. I love the smell, colors and ads. I also like to ‘dog ear’ the pages of my favorite articles and products. It will be a sad day if my favorites aren’t’ around anymore.

    • Paula,
      I agree…I have yet to buy a nook…I like my books. Maybe someone will come up with an app for dog-earring e-pages. : ^)

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