Is Print Dead? What Should PR Folks Know About Magazines?

Is print media dead? It’s a big question. Some people think they’ve answered it already. Many of us are still asking this big question. As professional communicators, public relations folks can tell you that the answer is a resounding “Heck, no!”.

The Evolving Print Media Landscape

Although the print media landscape is changing and evolving, along with the business models that support these mediums, print media, magazines in particular, are absolutely booming.  Recent research by the Association of Magazine Media indicates that the popularity of the Internet, mistakenly thought by many to be the big print media killer, is actually fueling the popularity of magazines. Reciprocally, magazines drive Web searches at nearly DOUBLE the effectiveness of the Internet itself.
Okay, what about that 18-34 group?

Glad you asked. Magazine readership is actually increasing in the 18-34 group.  The Web and social media savvy 18-34 group equals or surpasses their over 34 counterparts in two important categories:
  1. Issues read per month, and
  2. Time spent per issue.

The Power of Editorial Feature

As public relations professionals, we are intimately familiar with the power of editorial feature in print media, but let’s use this example of magazines. Because of the incredible cultural history of the magazine, the way magazine readers feel about their magazines and their incredible  readership loyalty, and the inherent attributes of the magazine media that are absolutely unique to the magazine, magazines remain an incredibly popular form of news, information, entertainment, education, and inspiration. Here are some of the latest facts:

  • The average reader spends 43 minutes reading an issue
  • The number of paid subscriptions exceeds 300 million
  • Magazine advertising recall has increased
  • Readership has increased over the last five years

Magazine Crazy

I don’t know about you, but I’m just crazy about magazines as a magazine consumer, as well as a writer and a PR professional. What other form of media makes us eagerly watch our mailbox for that next issue? What other form of media can we tuck neatly inside a briefcase, an overnight or carry-on bag, take along to the doctor’s office, or read while soaking in a tub full of bubbles? What other form of media can we dog-ear the pages of, pass along to friends or associates, or save in our “favorites” pile on the book shelf for years? What other form of media thrills us with content, design, and award winning photography month after month?

Ah, the magazine! As magazine appreciators, we know the impact and value of editorial selection by a magazine. And, it’s up to us to remain informed and to educate our management teams and clients on the same.

The Magazine Industry Speaks Out

Well, there are a bunch of dedicated people in the magazine industry who have joined forces with other passionate magazine industry folks, even competitors, to debunk the myths and replace them with the latest research about the allegedly dead print media. They have collaborated to put together a massive PR campaign using full page advertising buys…in magazines…to accomplish their goal. I think it’s brilliant. The leaders of five major magazine companies—Charles H. Townsend (Condé Nast), Cathie Black (Hearst Magazines), Jack Griffin (Meredith Corporation), Ann Moore (Time Inc.), and Jann Wenner (Wenner Media)—talk about the vitality of magazines as a medium. Check out  “Magazines, The Power of Print Campaign” and tell me what you think.

Print, dead? I think not.

Copyright 2010, Tracy L. Teuscher, APR, The Buzz Maker! LLC


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