14 Oct 2016

Who said magazines are dead?

It was an interesting dilemma for me, moving into publishing almost three years ago. The glossy was hero, and ‘digital’ was a very bad word indeed. The environment was not dissimilar to the advertising industry – and the old adage of “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” reared its ugly head – again! But I was excited that, for first time, I could really get to grips with content. In advertising, that’s the missing quintessential link. The beauty of publishing is that we as publishers are sitting with copious amounts of content, all of which people really want to engage with.

It has been a rich, historical journey. Let me contextualise my thinking:

  • 1663: The world’s first magazine, Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen (Edifying Monthly Discussions) was published in Germany in.
  • 1739: The world’s oldest and best-selling Scottish consumer magazine, The Scots Magazine, was born. Today, it rakes in over 100 thousand readers monthly.
  • 1843: The Economist began examining news, politics, business, science and the arts. It currently prints 1, 47 million copies weekly and is accessed by 650k digital devices monthly.
  • 1857: The Atlantic Monthly was founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among others. Today, it attracts its print, digital, live, and mobile audience with breakthrough insights into the worlds of politics, business, technology, culture, and the arts. It prints 10 issues a year with 1,16 million readers a month, and was voted one of the 50 best websites by Time in 2012.
  • 1899: National Geographic first appeared. It has since gained 20 million followers globally, with 215,48 million respective page views and 5,79 million video views. Its YouTube channel has enjoyed 859, 71 million video views since May 2006, and currently has 1,26 million channel subscribers.
  • 1911: South Africa’s very own Weekly was established, and now sports a website, Facebook page, and digital magazine.
  • 1914: Cond√© Nast launched Vanity Fair.
  • 1916: Die Huisgenoot came on the scene with President Paul Kruger on the cover; the first advert for which was incidentally Stuttafords. It has 198k Facebook fans, apps and 64,7k website visitors monthly.
  • 1933: Esquire launched the first men’s magazine.
  • 1944: The first magazine devoted to adolescents, Seventeen, graced the shelves.
  • 1951: Drum was launched, and now has a website attracting 47,1k visitors a month, and 68,6k Facebook fans.
  • 1953: Television’s popularity resulted in a major drop in advert revenue, which saw an introduction for TV Guide Magazine.
  • 1967: Rolling Stone was launched, marking the start of popular special-interest magazines.
  • 1974: People Magazine was launched with Mia Farrow on the cover, heralding an explosion in niche magazines that still continues today.
  • 1987: SA Weekly made its first appearance. It now has 49,6k Facebook fans, 18.1k Twitter followers, and 35,7k monthly website visitors.
  • 1993: Wired arrived (one of our favorite magazines of all time), in the wake of the technological advancements in the early 90s. It was then when magazines began publishing content on the Internet.
  • 2000: From 2000 onwards, we saw Zines; Internet only magazines published by thousands of home-based publishers.
  • Today: Digital news stands can be found on Apple’s iTunes, Google Play, Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s, among many others.

Proof is in the pudding

I could go on, but all of above illustrates that the magazine – or rather magazine-type content – is clearly not dead in print, nor digitally for that matter. In fact, it has survived and adapted happily to the times, and by all accounts will continue to do so!


Technology is purely the enabler… We could be publishing via 3D printing some time very soon. Ultimately, it’s content that fuels the trends, and to quote David Armano: “In 2013, content will not only be king, but queen, prince and jester, too!”


Stats sources: Effective Measure and various magazine websites.

Articles taken from http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/424/87778.html

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