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Will Print Magazines Die Away

With the death of the print version of Gourmet some feel the writing is on the wall for all magazines. After all, according to Mediabistro.com, in the United States and Canada alone, 613 folded in 2008 and the hemorrhaging did not stop there; so far many have gone although few, including Gourmet, have migrated to the Internet. Condé Nast, publisher of Gourmet magazine has closed Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and thechildren’s magazine Cookie, although it’s kept Wired and Vogue. The reason is the lack of advertising dollars as media buyers opt for cheaper promotional options for their clients.

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Rival Magazine Publishers Get Together

Phil Bronstein writing in the October 25, 2009 Huffington Post believes Gourmet’s demise “is a big sucking wound for all those consultants advising the panicked print industry”. He’s most likely right but the consultants are regrouping as rival magazine publishers get together to discuss an online advertising network, reports Nat Ives in the October 6 Advertising Age.

The big test will be whether readers follow them and pay for down-loadable versions. Perhaps not because the big attraction of a glossy magazine is having it in one’s hands and idly leafing through it. It’s as guilty a pleasure as eating a box of chocolates.

Need for Bloggers

There may be a bright spark, at least for some: Ill paid online freelance writers chatting within social and business networks are hoping that their rates will increase as digital versions of established magazines proliferate. Not only do they want to write articles for them, but they feel that there will be a need for bloggers to keep the magazines’ content fresh.

Publications like Vogue, Bon Appetit, Gourmet’s rival, and Architectural Digest may not be making leaps in circulation but they are holding their own by making small concessions to the public mood, devising new ways to embed smaller advertisements and keeping printing costs down. This balance is so crucial that editors like American Vogue editor Anna Wintour are being kept in place because they know the score.

Glossy Publications will Continue to Adapt

So what is the fallout likely to be? Well, in the short term the glossy publications will continue to adapt and keep their aging readership. In the longer term, though, magazines are likely to exist only on the Internet if they exist at all. Younger people, following celebrities and stars, don’t want an editorial structure coming between them and the objects of their interest. They want forums and places to post observations and photographs and they want to make the news themselves, rather than have others do it for them.

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