By Leah Walters
There’s no denying the value of digital media; the possibilities are virtually endless, it’s immediate, and interactive content is a crowd-pleaser. Over the last decade, magazines have been racing to keep up with web and social media demands and today these are integral to a magazine’s brand.
But print media is not dead. If anything, it’s making a comeback. Between October 2013 and September 2014, the industry saw a total of 862 magazine launches. Sure, they’re not all going to survive, but it’s promising that so many people are dedicating creative energy and resources to print. It’s also notable that the first half of the year saw more launches than closures. Slowly print is regaining ground.
The real thrill is that so many digital entities are successfully making the foray into print. Last year’s big success story was Meredith’s “Allrecipes” title, which ventured into print after the publisher acquired the well-established recipe website. After just 10 months in print, its circulation grew to 900,000.
Meredith CEO Steve Lacy called the move “reverse engineering.” And it’s working for other titles too. Of Media Industry Newsletter’s “30 Hottest Launches of the Year”, five titles originated on the web. “One“, “Politico“, “Pando Quarterly”, “Porter”, and “The Pitchfork Review” all made a splash.
Brand recognition has afforded these digital titles the opportunity to revert to print, which is a method the publishing industry hasn’t seen before. To be fair, there is reason for skepticism: Net-a-Porter, for example, is already a thriving e-commerce company, so what more can print offer it?
Sure there’s advertising revenue, but these trendsetting publishing professionals could be on to something more. In the debut issue of “One”, the editors refer to modern times as a post-digital era. It sounds like a post-apocalyptic fiction, but there’s some merit to the idea. We’ve become so bombarded by digital media that it’s hard to escape. Anymore, it’s tough to separate reputable stories from vacuous content. The internet is a wormhole of information. Print on the other hand is authoritative.
Or maybe consumers are simply longing for the tactile experience–I for one love the weight and feeling of a magazine. In any case, digital-to-print is trending right now and it will be exciting to see if that holds true in the near future.