Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant-past, print magazines were thriving in the media industry and were the be-all and end-all of everything current in the world. When I was about 12, I used to read Sneak obsessively, it was the pinnacle of print media for me and social media wasn’t a major phenomenon like it is today. I found out all the celeb goss, goings-on and top life tips, weekly, and if there was something I already knew about in there, it was probably because I’d already caught wind of it on Myself or AOL. Fast forward a few technology-advanced years and you’ll find yourself in 2018 with a wealth of up-to-date knowledge at your fingertips that’s yours for the taking, come night or day. Everything is instant, there on your phones, ‘knew about it since ten seconds before it actually happened’, and the art of print media is failing because of it.
We can all admit that digital content is immensely alluring, the high definition editorials, real-time articles and news, and the promise that you can carry endless webpages of content in your back pocket. Who wouldn’t want to maximise on that?
The notion of consuming a physical copy seems almost archaic, especially to such an overwhelmingly tech-savvy population, still, has the concept of print media been deemed dead and buried yet? Absolutely not. But who knows for how long?
You might ask yourself “Do I buy the latest issue of such-and-such when I can read it online on tomorrows work commute?” or perhaps you’ll skim an article on a pitstop around a supermarket, telling yourself “I knew about this last week” before shelving the magazine and grabbing what you actually came in to buy. Finding the right content you want to invest in is where the problem lies and where many publishers are falling short. We need a more tangible reason to spend upwards of £10 on half a ream of decorated paper.
Are publishers actually a large part of the problem?
It’s been reported time and time again that publishers online content divulges too much of what is to be seen in the published copy that’s to be released a few days/week later. Who wants to purchase a print copy of Vogue for its cover star if they’ve already read most of the interview with Claire Foy and watched an accompanying video on their website? Companies such as Conde Nast are responsible for their own downfall and can be viewed as their own worst enemy.
During my time working on Platfform magazine, for the final module of my second year of uni, we were constantly making a conscious effort to be wary of what was shared across our social media, and consequently, our website. We displayed a selection of images, adapted text and different articles of interest, in various ways to keep content fresh for our following, because we want to stay just as much as the readers want us to.
So, the time has come for publishers to really evaluate their consumers needs and take into account what is shared online vs in their physical publications. Just because someone has subscribed to a magazine for five years, doesn’t mean they won’t hesitate when the sixth is approaching and they’ve already read half of the next issues content online two weeks before its hit the newsstand.
For someone studying a fashion degree at university, with a strong hope (and determination) to work with print media in the future, it’s disheartening to watch it’s decline. I’m a tactile person who wants to hold a product in her hands, whether that be a CD, book or a magazine. There are still a few of us out there, so let’s hope we get to enjoy it a while longer.
What are your views on this? Do you think information is too readily available now for magazines to keep up?
S xo[As first seen on Alright Sunshine]