The Future of Print with ValueMags

Magazines have been around for hundreds of years. The first one to be published in America was in 1741 by Andrew Bradford. It was a close race between Bradford and Benjamin Franklin on who would be the first to publish. Neither of their magazines where successful since within six months, they had to stop production. Even though these ventures were not prosperous, magazines eventually became fairly popular in America. Towards the beginning of the 19th century, there were all kinds of magazines for all social classes. ValueMags, a company offering magazine subscriptions to the American public, is one of the most diverse companies offering magazines to all social classes.

For the past few years now there has been the question looming in people’s heads if print is dead. According to the Association of Magazine Media, magazines are not dead. In fact magazine titles keep delivering significant growth across all platforms. Customers are engaging in the content magazines publish online especially on social media. With its use, American magazines have managed to grow their sales an average of 7.6% every year. Believe it or not, the reach the top ten magazine companies get on social media is almost double than that of the top ten television programs. According to Shareablee, magazines get more social engagement when compared to TV, radio and newspapers. The primary reason for this is consumers have a deeper and passionate relationship with magazine media. It is important to note there have been magazines that have stopped printing and are only focusing on having a digital version of their issues be available. The global digital magazine industry is expected to grow to 35% by the year 2020. Techavio, the company who came to this conclusion, describes this growth is based on the fact that there is an increase in online engagement and visibility along with the substantial use of handheld devices.

Technology has changed the landscape of the industry significantly throughout the years. ValueMags has noticed the latest trends. Those who do not keep up with the latest technological and industry trends will eventually get wiped out by competition. That is why these companies have to offer an additional service to customers rather than only traditional print. According to these trends, it is important to offer digital versions of the magazines. To subscribers, this means they don’t have to wait to get the latest issue by mail. It would be available as soon as it hits newsstands on any digital device. ValueMags recently introduced this universal digital edition reader program earlier in the year. The Chicago based agency is confident it will increase the user experience. The great thing about this program is that subscribers don’t have to download an app or create an account to login and yet because of click-based authentication, the content cannot be shared with non-subscribers. In addition, it is possible for customers to create their own digital archive. Publishers’ even benefit from this digital reader program since they have insight on how many people are opening and clicking on certain content.

For those of you who are curious to know what the current industry trends are it is clear digital is the way to go. It is important to note the best performing magazines in the market. These stats are collected every six months of the calendar year. The process is taking the top 30 magazines in circulation and comparing them by their paid digital subscriptions. Each half-year, those 30 magazines are compared to their performances from last year’s. The most circulated digital magazines are in the active interest media category. Four of the top five are in fact found in that category which include Backpacker, Clean Eating, Vegetarian Times and Yoga Journal. That being said, digital circulation is slowly increasing year over year. Multi-title digital programs and the programs that ValueMags runs for its users, make up roughly a quarter of all digital circulation. The only part that is declining is online newsstands. Apple Newsstand has seen a 7% drop in the first six months of this year. The only two categories of newsstand stores that are up are regional news and science.

While looking at the numbers on which titles are doing better than others, Vegetarian Times has enjoyed an increase of 78.6% year over year growth with Clean Eating not too far behind with a 76.6% increase. In the first six months of the year, the top three magazines with the most digital circulation, which means total number of subscriptions and single copy sales, are Maxim, National Geographic and Star Magazine. The largest percentage of total digital circulation is Nylon with 70.8% and only with 33.7% is Clean Eating. These percentages are increasing year over year and it should be evidence enough that each title should have digital issues available on many devices and platforms. But there is still a long way to go for the top selling digital magazine to reach that of the top selling print magazine. Looking at the total amount of people who purchased Maxim, it is only 244,614 compared to Better Homes and Gardens, which amassed 7,505,860 in print copies during the same period. In the top 30 magazines titles that sold the most print, only seven of them are found in the top 30 most downloaded digital.

From what we have learned from past failures of certain magazines, the recipe for success in the industry is to publish content people want to read about and engage with audiences on a variety of different social media profiles. When you look at the Canadian landscape, the largest company to publish and sell magazines is Rogers Media. In September, they stated that they are eliminating some print editions and moving to more digital content. This means it will only be available through apps and the web. Some magazines that are published every week will be reduced to a monthly issue. The reason behind this, according to Rick Brace, the president of Rogers Media, is they are shifting their focus on where their audiences are and doubling down on digital to grow their consumer magazine brands.