Ring the death knell; another giant has been felled.
Newsweek Magazine announced this past week that they are shutting doors on the print version and going 100% digital with their content. For a “news” organization, this seems like it should have happened years ago, because even though they produce their magazine weekly, it’s never really new information, thanks to the speed of the internet. Breaking stories are live in seconds rather than days or weeks, so it makes sense that entities like Newsweek and Time magazine might make the decision to ditch their print counterpart.
So what does this mean for the magazine industry? For the more mainstream media, we’ll likely see more of this over the next couple years. I highly anticipate the magazine section of your favorite bookstore or super market will decrease in size by a considerable amount.
I meant to publish this post yesterday, but got wrapped up in my own daily grind. For today only, this is Magazine Tuesday.
On the other hand, niche media will actually flourish, I think. Niche markets, albeit smaller, tend to have longer staying power because of the core customers. People that buy Surfing Magazine, Communication Arts or Dwell are always going to buy it because they have a specific interest in that subject matter and few other mags are delivering the content.
On my day gig, I work on a couple niche motorcycle publications. They both have a couple competitors on the newsstand, but because the customers are so voracious with their interest in the content, many times those people will buy all the magazines in that niche. I’ve done this myself, buying 6 or 8 magazines at a time because they all give me something different from the same type of content.
Some niche mags will definitely die or be turned into digital versions, this is absolutely going to happen. Eventually, they all may go this way, but it is my belief that independent magazine publishers could still jump into the market and get a small foothold on publishing something they believe in. What will make the difference, is the quality of the content versus the desire to make money doing it. Sure, you could probably make some money publishing your own magazine and you might be quite successful, but if you’re not doing it for the love, it will show and your would-be customers will see through the veneer.
Print is definitely dying, but it’s far from dead. How long it takes is entirely up to us. For now, go buy a magazine and support an organization you believe in.