Magazines used to be associated with pages and pages of glossy advertising. September issues of fashion magazines in particular used to measure their success by the hundreds of pages of adverts they could squeeze in. However, with spend on print advertising declining continually over the past decade, publishers have had to look elsewhere for income.
Some have doubled down on paid circulation. Although print subscription numbers globally have been in decline, a number of news-focused print magazines in the UK are thriving. Notably, they all carry little or no advertising.
We’re increasingly seeing the conversation evolve from an either/or between advertising and subscriptions to more nuanced examples. The two revenue streams can be carefully balanced. But these print titles in the UK, from The Economist to The Spectator are showing that putting the reading experience first in print is paying off.
…although print advertising is doing very well for some magazine brands. This year, Condé Nast is expecting to exceed the nearly $2 billion in total revenue it saw in 2021 thanks to continued growth in its advertising business, and gains in print advertising. The global slump in ad revenues isn’t expected to affect the publisher as badly due to the luxury brands they usually attract.
This one is a good overview of how some of the top media companies are weathering the ads storm. The advice at the end is worth reinforcing: “Focus on what you can control. If the economy is strong, excellent. If it’s weak, what can you do to ensure your business continues to operate efficiently?”
The new realities of the news business and content ecosystem require more journalists to apply product thinking to their work. This is a great piece from David Adeleke about the benefits of product thinking, including helping editorial staff look beyond the stories they publish and consider how the audience interacts with (and considers paying for) them.
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