How is the internet affecting the magazine industry?

The internet has changed the magazine industry in countless ways. From making content more instant and more accessible to forcing publishers to think outside the box, the internet has had an impact on content, style, quality and affordability.

With more people connected to the internet than ever before, and the use of tablet computers and other portable devices on the up, increasing numbers of people are getting their information directly from the web and bypassing print altogether. So just how has the internet affected the magazine industry and what is the future of the medium?

Reduced circulation

There’s no question that, as internet use has gone up, magazine circulation has gone down. The first online only magazine Salon, hit the web in 1995. Within a short time the site was generating 5.8 million monthly visitors, proving the potential of the medium and triggering a rush to online journalism.

Other magazines soon followed suit, with more and more opting for digital over physical publication. In the first half of 2014, UK consumer magazines lost almost one million print sales, with some titles like NME down 28% on the previous year.

Increased quality

Though for a time experts were predicting the end of print, in recent years many have come to see that the opposite is actually true. In order to combat the lure of the web, publishers are taking advantage of the tactile quality of print and using ever higher quality materials in their publications.

Many of the magazines that weathered the storm have now evolved into beautifully printed and elegantly finished objects. Some now look like they’d be just as at home on the coffee table in an upmarket design studio as they would on the shelves of your local newsagent.

magazine layout example  magazine layout example

Relevant content

Though the internet has forced print magazines to adapt their aesthetics in order to keep readers interested, it’s also made it easier for publishers to find interesting and engaging content. Readers will probably go online to find out about breaking news and developments within an industry or sector, so when they pick up a magazine they want content that’s in depth, well-researched and relevant.

This demand for quality, as well as the increased availability of freelance writers, photographers and designers, has given publishers the chance to offer readers incredibly high value products.

In the future, you can expect to see an even higher percentage of magazines that are beautifully designed, well written and printed to the highest standard. This is great news for readers still dedicated to the world of print and ensures a high quality product for the future.

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