We keep hearing how Print in dying. Newspapers are struggling, that's for sure. And many magazines are not having an easy time.
But tell that to the publishers of 60 new magazines that launched during the first half of 2015, as reported by MediaFinder. That number is down about a third from the 93 new titles during the same period last year, but people are still trying to make a go of new titles.
Of the new launches, five were business-to-business magazines, down from 15 new B2B books a year ago.
The number of magazines that shut down during the first half of the year was 23, which is ten less than a year ago. So there's been a net gain of 37 new magazines so far this year.
Why do people keep trying with new magazines in print? They're costly to print and distribute -- much more so than digital publications with no printing cost and very little distribution expenses.
It probably comes down to advertising. Ads in print generally command much higher rates than their digital counterparts, even when digital can reach many more readers. Many advertisers still prefer the glossy printed page for their ads, especially for products that rely on strong visuals -- food, fashion & beauty, travel, cars. Print still gets a higher ad readership, while research shows most of us totally ignore ads that run in digital media.
Digital does offer some benefits that print doesn't -- mainly, the ability for readers to click through for more info, sales pitches and even place an order and make a purchase. Print can offer that via QR codes, but the process isn't seamless since it requires extra steps and a smartphone.
Launches this year have been mainly specialty titles rather than general-interest books. Most, I'd bet, also have online components. Maybe once they've established themselves in print -- and as the gap between print and online ad readership and rates narrows -- they'll try to convert to digital only. But until that gap is much smaller, there will still be a place for print magazines.
That's good news for newsstands, printing companies and the Post Office.