Published on March 30, 2017, at 1:40 p.m.
by Clara Balestrieri.
As our digital age is advancing, the print industry is slowly fading away. Newspapers, magazines and books are now available online, so what does the future hold for the print publishing industry that once ruled the world?
Almost everything is accessible online now. Print industries are scrambling to find ways to reach and appeal to their audiences, not only digitally, but through the printed publications that once brought in endless streams of revenue. With everything going digital, countless new competitors, and the way we access information changing at an unforeseen rate, the print industry is struggling to keep its head above water.
That rate at which consumers are purchasing subscriptions to magazines or newspapers has dropped drastically. There are still loyal followers, but publishers are constantly fighting to find new ways to keep up with their biggest competitor: the web.
Within the expansive publishing industry, companies are losing hoards of money, and as a result, people are losing jobs because the companies can’t afford to keep them. Due to the change from paper to online accessibility, companies are searching for ways to draw in their audiences and keep them engaged, but how are they achieving this goal?
Allie ReDavid, the Associate Brand Manager at Conde Nast Traveler in New York City, discussed the issue.
“Now companies are creating branded content opportunities that can reach users across all platforms,” ReDavid said. “Most of the campaigns we are producing have video and custom ad units. Companies are also focusing more on their digital properties and how to make their websites and apps more user-friendly.”
Lauren MacCallum, the Head of Special Events at the Boston Consulting Group in New York City, also noted something similar.
“I think that companies and advertisers have had to become increasingly more creative in their campaigns, given the fact that most individuals are not opening traditional print sources (newspapers and magazines) anymore,” MacCallum said. “Guerrilla marketing, social media, blogging and YouTube have taken over as the mainstream outlets for news as the print industry has declined.”
Take, for example, Vogue’s editor and chief, Anna Wintour. Since 1988, she has been the face of Vogue and of the magazine’s success. Vogue, arguably the most famous fashion magazine in the world, has always been known for discovering and featuring iconic fashion models, such as Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Twiggy, Dorian Leigh, Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bündchen, as well as forecasting trends for each season.
In the early 2000s, Wintour saw how the print industry was in jeopardy, as people were no longer subscribing to or buying Vogue magazine. Revenue was on the decline, and Condé Nast was forced to shutter several magazines or limit the number of issues per year.
To save the magazine, and ultimately the future of the industry, Wintour had to make a critical change. She dug deep, did what she had to do, and addressed the problem.
Wintour realized our world was in a technological boom, and the last thing people wanted to do was pick up a magazine when they already had access to it in the palm of their hands. She realized that it was not only about fashion anymore — people wanted to see celebrities; people wanted Hollywood.
This is when Wintour had to make the strategic decision of featuring celebrities, not only fashion models anymore. In March 2014, Vogue released the infamous cover featuring Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, a decision that received immediate and severe backlash from others in the fashion industry. She was referred to as a sell out, and the integrity of the magazine was brought into question. Immediately, people asked, “Why”, “How could she do this?”
According to ABC News, “Kardashian and West are constantly in the media for one reason or another, whether it’s for music, fashion or about some new gossip floating around.” This gave Wintour the incentive to turn away from tradition and face the reality. In order for her magazine to survive, she had to adapt to the times.
Despite the critics, Wintour’s decision to bring mainstream celebrities to her previously fashion only magazine, has led to the continued success of Vogue; she has set the new standard for the publishing industries outside of fashion.
As mentioned previously, jobs within the print industry are beginning to change. MacCullum said, “From what I have seen, a number of former reporters in the New York area, previously working at massive newspapers and outlets have transitioned their roles into blogs or online breaking news sites. The majority of contacts I have in the media are now heavily involved in social media as well.”
The digital change will continue to grow, and with that comes adaptation from the print industries. When asked about where the print industry will be in the next five years, ReDavid said, “I see luxury magazines being more like books or keepsakes — quarterly editions with major trends for the season with big advertisers. I also think that celebrity and gossip magazines will completely move to digital and social platforms.”
Soon, we will begin to see how the print industry is adapting to the digital age. As magazines and newspapers lose subscriptions and move content online, we will begin to see jobs in the industry adapt too.