It’s been said that in order for a print magazine to survive, it has to last at least five issues. This makes the magazine industry seem a somewhat risky game, yet if you look at any newsstand, the amount of titles has never been greater. We’re currently seeing a rise in Niche, independent magazines that are led by ideas, focused on design and unlike more established magazines, funded by readers rather than advertisements. There’s a certain appeal in owning, and even creating these types of magazines, but what are the factors that ensure independent magazines survive in a world obsessed with the digital?
While most independent magazines favour print as their medium of choice, digital media is a major part of our world, and magazines are using social media and website content as a cost-free way to market themselves. Many independent magazines are even introducing a digital version of their publication, in the hope that it will compliment sales by targeting those who like to view content on the go. In some aspects, magazines are becoming insignificant as people can access similar content through online blogs. Blogs are becoming increasingly more popular due to their ability to give ordinary people a fashion presence, allowing them to share their opinions or showcase their own creative work. Popular fashion blogger Garance Dore originally created her blog to showcase her own illustrations, and commented that the best thing about having an online presence is how easy it is to receive feedback, which she claims print is lacking.
The allure of print
Although viewing creative content digitally is undeniably the easier choice, we’re still pining over copies of well designed, good quality print magazines. Think about the last time you read a physical magazine. Think about the feel of the paper, the way the pages looked, the smell of freshly printed ink. Reading a printed magazine can be a sensory experience, whilst viewing the same editorial on an iPad screen feels less special, less honest and less real.
As lovable as print magazines may be, they're not always the most profitable route to go down. Many creators of magazines use publishing as a creative hobby rather than a way to pay the bills, and end up left without any profit after printing costs. Instead they favour the luxury and collectable feel of a print publication you can hold in your hands and keep forever, rather than throw away the next day, and take pride in showcasing upcoming creative talent and unique content. With more traditional magazines like Vogue, advertisements make up the majority of content and bring in the profit, with the advertising rate in Vogue averaging around £30,000. Independent magazines shy away from advertising, and limit the number of ad’s they include, if any. By doing this they're sabotaging their chance to make money through their reluctance to sacrifice the aesthetics and flow of the magazine. This is both a positive and a negative thing, since independent magazines use lack of advertisements as a way to stand out from more mainstream titles, magazines need profit in order to keep up and running, and reach that five issue milestone.
As nice as it would be to have an ad-free print-only magazine, it’s unrealistic to think that it could be successful without the help of some form of digital media, and magazines need platforms like instagram to attract new readers and help create a brand for themselves. As long as print media and digital media embrace one another, independent print magazines can succeed, and the two can live happily ever after in this ever changing world.
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