Monday, 9 October 2017

Print vs. Digital. Who will win?


Friday was a dreary day.

Work was busy, my head was kinda everywhere, I was trying to finish off a few things and then in my calendar I saw that there were work drinks so I decided, you know what, it's Friday, sure. I'll head along and have one.
Whilst I was walking across, I had my phone in my hand, so I wanted to catch up with the news I'd missed, and whilst scrolling through Twitter, there it was. Something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

The end of an era.

I paused. What? What am I reading here? Someone's tweet: 'Glamour magazine will no longer be printed monthly, but bi-annually, and will go digital with a beauty focus.'

What the hell? Really?

My initial thoughts were well, what about the staff? And then came the onset of questions, what about the loyal readers?What about my subscription I bought a few months back, what about the rest of the content? The writing, the carefully constructed articles? WTF?

I had the pleasure of meeting Jo Elvin, who is Glamour's editor in chief, a few months ago where she was speaking an event advising people on how to work in magazines. I had a few moments with her after her presentation where I asked her, 'what do you think will happen to the future of magazines, and print vs. digital?'

Her words of wisdom regarding magazines resonate. 'There will always be room for print'.

But really, I have to ask, is there?

Not only was Glamour one of my personal favourite magazines to buy, I read it from cover to cover, and generally found that Glamour just had a way, and it 'spoke' to women, like none of the other magazines did. None have even come close. It was one of the best selling women's magazines and even they have fallen to the rise of digital?

Don't get me wrong, I think the digital realm is awesome, I'm contributing to that, I'm writing this on a blog, after all.

But there are definitely times when you don't want to look at a screen, and you just want to switch off. Sometimes you need something to take you away from that, something enjoyable.

For me, a magazine was just that. A 'treat'. When I started reading magazines (I remember buying copies of Shout!, J17 and Sugar and even though they were probably a bit too old for me,  I consumed them, cover to cover, and eventually I would save up my pocket money and went to my local newsies and bought the latest copy, eventually commiting and subscribing to them because I loved them that much.

Everything from the free covermounts, the glossy feel of the pages, the informative articles and features that taught me so much when, as a teen, there are things I didn't want to ask my parents or my mates about. The magazine, to me, was the thing I used to buy religiously, whenever I was having a shit day and I just wanted to aspire to other things, and wanted to be inspired, then I’d head to my local newsagents and picked up a new mag, to have a look at the latest Vogue, or Cosmo.

Sadly, as the years have past, users now are interacting with digital in a different way. It's more convenient and faster and in some ways, it can't complete with print.

This isn't the first time this has happened, a magazine dropping it's print issues. The same thing happened for Company and More magazine (I know More was a bit low brow but I LOVED IT and still have the last ever issue saved somewhere).

We are interacting with the media a lot dfferently, and the quetion remains, will there be any magazines left? Drop in circulation is the thing that is killing magazines and advertisers are preferring online platforms as their ROI can be monitored closely whereas with print, it’s a lot harder to track this.

So, I’m not really sure where we can go with this. Is this truly the demise of print? What next? Cosmo? Elle? Marie Claire?

Iguess we embrace digital, there's no way we can ignore it. But we need to  be real about what’s happening with our beloved print.

I for one, will continue to spend actual real money on a print magazine that I love. I know people think ‘what the hell,  really? £4.99 for a bloody magazine?!’ Yes, but if it means that it gives other publications a half chance in surviving in years to come in this current climate?

Here, gladly take my fiver.

F x


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