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Print to Digital: Magazines Adapt to Changing Times

Published on March 23, 2022, at 8:00 p.m.
by Sydney Miner.

When was the last time you went to the store and bought a magazine? Maybe you picked up a copy to browse while traveling or decided to grab an issue about your favorite celebrity. Although many publications are still successfully in print, others are deciding to make the transition to exclusively digital.

Since 1994, InStyle magazine has reported on women’s fashion, providing its readers with pop-culture trends and fashion must-haves. In February of 2022, the magazine announced its decision to end its print magazine and transition to be only online. Although the magazine has been in print for over 28 years, this announcement doesn’t come as a surprise to many.

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According to research, the number of single-copy magazines sold has gone down 11% from 3.2 million in the first half of 2019 to 2.8 million in the first half of 2020. Although some magazines have been able to retain sales throughout the pandemic, others decided to take a different route.

Previously printed publications, such as Glamour and Teen Vogue, ceased printing because they needed to focus on the digital aspects of their brands. As their demographics were changing to be predominately digital oriented, these magazines decided to adjust to the times.

Some publications are turning to digital subscriptions in addition to other online content. In a time where you can get news through social media, podcasts, YouTube and television, many people are now acquiring their print-only magazine content elsewhere.

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Magazines are not only focusing on their online publications but are also creating YouTube channels and other social media accounts on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to connect with their “readers.” InStyle magazine’s YouTube channel has 223,000 followers and contains content like award show highlights and makeup tutorials.

In order to adapt to the decrease in print magazine sales, publications are having to develop new tactics to connect with their readers. Through changing the way they use advertising and connecting with their readers on a variety of platforms, magazines may be able to survive.

As Platform Magazine is an online publication, much of the promotion of its new content to readers comes from social media sources like LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Since its inception in 2007, Platform has been an online, student-run magazine at The University of Alabama that has strived to connect with public relations students and professionals.

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Only time will tell if magazines will be able to fully adapt to the digital era. If magazines accommodate the changing needs of their readers and create engaging content, there will be a stronger likelihood for their survival.

What do you prefer, online or print magazines?

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