Print is still big business in magazine media

Far from dead, print continues to be a critically important product for publishers.

The last decade has seen massive shifts in magazine media, in part due to digital publishing startups that are competing by creating innovative (and cheap) products that aim to stay a step ahead of ongoing disruptive forces. Worse, the rise and scale of the Facebook/Google duopoly has left most publishers fighting for virtual table scraps.

Many content producers responded aggressively with a (often ill-advised) “pivot to video,” while others are leaning more on social channels, where the rules continue to change. Still, despite the perception by some that print is dying and digital is the only way to survive and thrive, there are publishers who still recognize value in print.

After all, print still continues to generate the largest chunk of revenue for most legacy publishers. Print advertising accounted for 62 percent of the $16.6 billion in magazine advertising revenue in fiscal year 2016, according to PwC’s most recent research, and 87 percent of circulation revenue came from print products.

“We see it as print and digital; not print or digital,” says Jon Werther, president of Meredith’s National Media Group told Folio:.

At Meredith, print revenue accounted for two-thirds of overall advertising revenue, and circulation represented 30 percent of revenue in 2017, making it the company’s second-largest revenue stream.

“The old trope that print is dead is just lazy thinking,” says Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of the MPA—the Association of Magazine Media.

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