UK Glamour magazine has announced that it will cease its monthly print editions as of November’s issue, and instead focus on a ‘digital-only’ model, with a twice yearly glossy ‘collectable’ print run being introduced.
This isn’t the first and, if the recent ABC circulation figures are much to go by, it’s almost definitely not going to be the last magazine to be struck from a PR’s ‘monthlies’ contact list and moved into ‘online’. It’s sad news, as the title has been one of the leaders in its sector since launch in 2001.
Again, this calls into question the ongoing debate which we have looked at several times already on the blog. Print media is still seen as a cut above online, whether that’s actually true or not. As such print pulls in higher ad rates, which in turn helps support the staff. Once those ad rates drop to untenable levels, forcing the switch to online only, it can quickly become much more problematic for the title to retain the same level, and quality, of staffing as the revenue may well have also fallen.
This, in turn, could impact on the ability for the publication to continue producing the same standards of work, therefore putting more readers off and further devaluing its advertising potential.
All of which is ironic in many ways. The internet is almost universally accessible, regardless of which country you’re logging on from. As such the reach for online articles is far, far higher than that of print. Meanwhile, on the flip side, readers have much more faith in print when it comes to facts and hard news reporting, meaning that although ad buyers could argue the toss about the benefits of a small readership, and the real worth of that readership, in many ways that readership is much more engaged and influenced by the print title compared with online.
And yet still ad revenues are falling for print, and online just can’t plug the same gap. It’s a difficult situation, and one that we don’t have many answers to. We’re constantly on the hunt for new models being trialled by media companies in the hope of bucking the trend, though, and would be interested to know of any that we haven’t come across yet.
So why not join the conversation if you have some examples? Find us on Twitter or Facebook and share some thoughts. In the meantime, we wish Glamour all the best going forward and hope that the digital future proves to be successful for everyone involved.