Published on February 3rd, 2015 | by Samantha Levine0
A Look Back at the Magazine Industry
Over the past year, 1.6 billion people were reading magazines. This number is up from 1.4 billion last year, and a very impressive number no matter how you look at it. So who are these magazine readers? Most of them are picking up mobile (tablet, phone, and e-reader versions) which saw huge increases this past year, almost doubling their numbers from last year, while the web versions accessed on laptops and desktops are declining slightly. Print versions have also seen an uptick in readership. This mobile boom, while mirroring consumer habits in electronic purchasing, might also be from efforts by magazines to be where their customers are. Many magazines have strong Twitter and Facebook pages, but this year saw some also trying Snapchat, a popular image sharing app with teen, after Snapchat made Snap Discover, which allows companies to push content to users. Some publications that have jumped on board include National Geographic, Vice, People, and Cosmo.
In the early months of 2014, magazine openings eclipsed closings significantly, but unfortunately closures closed the gap in the second half of the year. Still, 190 new magazines were founded this year, while 99 magazines closed. Closures were slightly up from 2013, but nowhere near the numbers of closed magazines in 2009 during the height of the recession. Magazine openings this year were similar to 2013s numbers.
Of those closed magazines there were some long-time staples of the magazine industry, including USA Weekend, Food Arts, and Bop, a teen magazine best known for its tear-out posters of 90s heart throbs. Bop’s closing in particular highlights the shrinking teen magazine market. This market has taken a lot of hits in the past ten years as teens are increasingly finding information, celebrity gossip (and posters!) and style trends, things usually covered in teen magazines, online and typically from social media; which leaves only a few big names left, like Seventeen Magazine and Teen Vogue. One of the biggest shockers to me was Ladies Home Journal transforming from a monthly, subscriber-based magazine to a quarterly newsstand only, special interest magazine. Additionally, craft and automotive magazines saw the largest amount of closings this past year.
New magazines that took to the shelves this year included Town & Country Travel, California Sunday Magazine, CNET magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, and Eat This, Not That! Still, the biggest sector that saw growth were regional interest magazines, like the newly founded San Francisco Cottages & Gardens, and 12th & Broad, a magazine dedicated to Nashville’s creative community. These regional and niche magazines are doing well by congregating great content in ways that appeal to specific markets.
In great news for kids everywhere, Sesame Street Magazine saw a re-launch this year. Also re-launching is Newsweek, which controversially stopped its print version in 2012 and re-launched in March, 2014.
Have any magazines that closed surprise you? Any new magazines that you might want to check out? What magazine would you bring back if you could? Let me know what you think in the comments below!